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Work on £1.2 million project gets off to a purr-fect start

Initial building works have started on Cats Protection adoption centre in Longham, near Dereham. Picture: CATS PROTECTION

Initial building works have started on Cats Protection adoption centre in Longham, near Dereham. Picture: CATS PROTECTION

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Initial building works on a £1.2 million project to bring a new lease of life to a cat rescue centre in Dereham are firmly underway.

Artist's impression of the new Cats Protection Adoption Centre in Longham, near Dereham.  Picture: Cats ProtectionArtist's impression of the new Cats Protection Adoption Centre in Longham, near Dereham. Picture: Cats Protection

The Cats Protection adoption centre in Longham was granted permission by Breckland Council to overhaul their existing state-of-the-art premises on Hoe Road.

Ground testing is being carried out this week in preparation for the building works, which are due to start on February 15.

Initial building works have started on Cats Protection adoption centre in Longham, near Dereham. Faye, is currently up for homing. Picture: CATS PROTECTIONInitial building works have started on Cats Protection adoption centre in Longham, near Dereham. Faye, is currently up for homing. Picture: CATS PROTECTION

Guy Chadwick, development manager, said the build would “future-proof” the centre for many years.

“The re-build is a wonderful opportunity for us to more than double the existing space at the centre and provide a dramatic improvement in facilities for cats in our care, volunteers and staff,” he said.

Initial building works have started on Cats Protection adoption centre in Longham, near Dereham. Syd has now found a new home. Picture: CATS PROTECTIONInitial building works have started on Cats Protection adoption centre in Longham, near Dereham. Syd has now found a new home. Picture: CATS PROTECTION

The build is being funded from Cats Protection’s central capital fund which is raised over time and provides for long-term projects.

As well as replacing the cat pens, which have been on-site for 20 years, the project will improve working areas, parking, and accessibility.

Initial building works have started on Cats Protection adoption centre in Longham, near Dereham. This kitten has also recently found a new home. Picture: CATS PROTECTIONInitial building works have started on Cats Protection adoption centre in Longham, near Dereham. This kitten has also recently found a new home. Picture: CATS PROTECTION

Newly installed pens interspersed with landscaped garden areas will create an engaging environment in which the cats can await rehoming. Maternity pens are also being created.

The Dereham centre currently takes in an average of 464 cats each year and it is envisioned that there will be a minimum 10pc increase in cat homing levels.

Two separate areas incorporated into the build will also enable volunteers and staff to more effectively care for the cats, as well as improve working conditions and productivity. The new building will be single storey and all external doors will have level access throughout the site along with corresponding accessible parking bays. Cycle parking will also be provided.

The improvements are scheduled to be completed by this summer and it is hoped they will set standards for cat-care excellence in Norfolk.

The centre will remain open throughout the refurbishment, supported by the Cats Protection adoption centre at Downham Market.

Additional volunteering opportunities will be available from early spring. Anyone interested in new opportunities should visit https://dereham.cats.org.uk/dereham/volunteering or email norfolk.volunteering@cats.org.uk.

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