Council refuses £10k grant for cat cafe in Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds Town Council offices on Angel Hill
Bury St Edmunds Town Council offices on Angel Hill
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A council has decided against using taxpayers’ money to fund the start-up costs of a Bury St Edmunds business.

Bury Town Council rejected a grant request for £10,272 to get Catastrophe Cat Cafe up and running on Wednesday.

Two other requests were, however, approved; £2,700 to fund the replacement of a specialist mattress on St Nicholas Hospice Care’s 12-bed Sylvan Ward and £1,350 to enable Unit Twenty Three to take a one-woman show into schools to help identify hidden carers.

Lauren Moyes, of Stowmarket, and Gemma Whitehouse, of Elmswell, came up with the idea for a cat cafe last year.

Their aim is to provide a ‘safe and loving’ environment for rescued cats while serving quirky items like moggie mochas and Siamese sandwiches.

They have raised more than £2,000 through a Crowdfunding site and are thought to be negotiating a lease for their ‘first choice’ premises.

Gemma said: “We are incredibly disappointed at the rejection of our recent grant application. As a result of this we are still going to set up the Cat Café in the near future and help rescue abused and ill treated cat’s.

“We have vast interest from local charities and residential homes and are pleased that we will be able to provide disabled children and elderly residents with fun and exciting days out to the Cat Café.”

The Bury hospice and social enterprise company Unit Twenty Three, meanwhile, were delighted with the success of their applications.

Unit Twenty Three’s Freefall play, which debuted at Stowmarket’s John Peel centre on Wednesday, is a professional production directed by Stuart Mullins, written by Anna Reynolds, choreographed by Helen Parlor and developed with young carers.

It highlights the difficulties young carers face and raises the profile of support services available to them.

Kayt Button, operations manager at Unit Twenty Three, said: “The number of young carers has increased by 20 per cent since the last census and with the cuts in community support will increase more.”

The council’s funding will see the play performed to pupils at St Benedict’s Catholic School, King Edward VI School and West Suffolk College later this year.

A hospice spokeswoman said the specialist mattress they wanted offers greater comfort when used for long periods of time – described as ‘feeling like you are floating on air’ – and has an automatic rotation making it ‘ideal’ for preventing bed sores in patients requiring palliative care.