Bengal’s rehab wheel sparks run of orders for Bury St Edmunds social enterprise

Workwise trainee Lenny Hiscock with the rehabilitation wheel
Workwise trainee Lenny Hiscock with the rehabilitation wheel
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Trainees at Workwise, in Bury St Edmunds, have made a rehabilitation wheel for an arthritic Bengal cat which has sparked a run of orders for the social enterprise.

The Papworth Trust facility provides work-based training and specialist employment support for people with disabilities or mental ill health and has several large workshops where its trainees can learn how to make products ranging from textiles to woodwork.

Bengal cat Denver’s Cheshire-based owners, Steve and Annette Westley, heard about Workwise from an advert for a cat wheel on the internet, but it was not big enough for Denver – who weighs in at a mighty 18lbs – so they got in touch with their exact specifications.

Their wheel had to be large enough for Denver but easy enough for a smaller cat to turn, because they foster cats with leg problems and amputations.

Steve, who soon sent a video of the wheel in use, said: “Denver is on the mend now and the wheel has really helped. I was impressed with the team at Papworth Trust Workwise because they were really switched on to what we needed, and we are very pleased with the finished wheel. From the day it arrived, the cats have fought over it.”

The wheel was made from MDF and pine, and cut out using a computer numerical control (CNC) machine.

Trainee Tracey Browne was part of the woodwork team that finished the wheel, sanded it down and painted it.

She said: “I was brought up with pets and it was great to see the video of Denver on the wheel and to know that I did something to help him. His was the first customised cat wheel we made, but now we’ve had a lot more orders for similar ones for other cats.”

Workwise trainees have also been busy making engraved wooden love birds in preparation for Valentine’s Day, which they hope will help boost funds for the charity.

The love birds, which measure 14.5cm by 9cm, are made from oak and can be personalised with engraved dates and names, and finished with a red or green ribbon.

Shoppers can buy them for £19.95 a pair at the charity’s Cavern4 shop in Whiting Street, Bury, or postal order by calling 01284 762298.