The award-winning Northumberland Country Zoo is a family-run, not-for-profit organisation situated just over 20 miles from Newcastle and I’m honoured to be able to choose them as the beneficiary of the generous donation from Jellybean as part of our 12 Days of Giving campaign this year.

It was an easy choice for me as I have personal ties to the zoo – my younger sister, Charlotte, is part of the hard-working team there who look after the diverse collection of animals they house. From Meerkats through to Canadian Lynx, each animal’s requirements are different and exacting.

The zoo truly deserves every penny donated to them as they continue to navigate their way through this tough year. They have had to close their doors to the public twice during 2020 which has been heart-breaking and like so many businesses across the world, has serious financial implications for them. Visitors or no visitors the animals still need to be fed, housed and cleaned on a daily basis.

During the lockdowns, as a resourceful way of raising awareness of their situation, the Zoo Curator, Maxine Bradley, produced a video series hosted on YouTube called ‘Bringing the Zoo to you’ in which viewers were given unprecedented access to the inner workings of the zoo and the team of keepers. This worked well to generate donations, encourage animal adoptions, and sell pre-paid tickets ready to be cashed in when the zoo re-opened.

There are exciting times ahead for the zoo as this December they are set to welcome two of the world’s most enigmatic and beautiful big cats to its collection – Snow Leopards. I know these are a personal favourite of Charlotte’s, along with, of course, Capybara (or Crappybara as they are lovingly known within our family for their toilet habits).

So, we just wanted to say, well done on getting through a tough year and we hope the well- deserved donation helps.

If you would like to offer support or just interested in finding out more, please visit their website.