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New home for stray cats, with heated chalets and outdoor play areas

PUBLISHED: 07:10 02 March 2020 | UPDATED: 07:10 02 March 2020

Helen McDermott with one of the residents at Venture Farm Cat Rescue in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Helen McDermott with one of the residents at Venture Farm Cat Rescue in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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Cats are purring with pleasure having moving into a new cattery, which has just been officially opened.

Volunteers at Venture Farm Cat Rescue in Mattishall, from left, Sally Parnell, Jonathan Parnell, Judith O'Brien, Debi Lines, Elizabeth Ward, Hazel Hatton, Sylvia Hopwood and Toni Ford. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANVolunteers at Venture Farm Cat Rescue in Mattishall, from left, Sally Parnell, Jonathan Parnell, Judith O'Brien, Debi Lines, Elizabeth Ward, Hazel Hatton, Sylvia Hopwood and Toni Ford. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

About 50 people gathered to celebrate the new Venture Farm Cat Rescue in Thuxton Road, Mattishall, near Dereham, after around five years of planning, fundraising and months of construction, which was finished just before Christmas.

Broadcaster Helen McDermott, the charity's patron, cut a ribbon to declare the building - which replaced an earlier one on the same site - open.

Ms McDermott, who has three of her of her own rescue cats, said: "I'm always reluctant to come here because I always want to take home another cat. It's wonderful to see how well looked after the cats are."

Venture Farm's goal is to find loving homes for as many cats as it can and it has already re-homed 110 cats since the move.

Helen McDermott opens Venture Farm Cat Rescue's  new cattery in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANHelen McDermott opens Venture Farm Cat Rescue's new cattery in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

It is entirely run by volunteers and relies on donations as well as proceeds from its charity shop in Dereham.

Some of the cats are housed in the new building itself and they have outdoor play areas.

Other, more shy felines, have heated chalets outside the main building with plenty of outdoor space to roam.

Toni Ford, one of Venture Farm's trustees, gave special thanks to volunteers Sid and Meryl Marshall for the hard work they had done on the new building.

Helen McDermott with one of the residents at Venture Farm Cat Rescue in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANHelen McDermott with one of the residents at Venture Farm Cat Rescue in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

She said: "This building would still be a shell if it wasn't for Sid, who worked to fit it out for nine months, and must have saved us around £40,000 in costs. Meryl organised the outdoor cabins for the cats to live in."

The new building was paid for by donations including a £100,000 grant from Support Adoption for Pets, as well as donations from the Douglas and Joanne Chapman Animal Trust, the Jean Sainsbury Animal Welfare Trust and Help Animals International.

Venture Farm Cat Rescue was originally set up in 1997 by Carol Lai with help from Rod Lea and John Brown.

Anyone interested in adopting a rescue cat from the charity can find out more online at www.venturefarm.co.uk or by calling 01362 850352.

Venture Farm Cat Rescue's new cattery has opened in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANVenture Farm Cat Rescue's new cattery has opened in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

One of the residents at Venture Farm Cat Rescue in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANOne of the residents at Venture Farm Cat Rescue in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Helen McDermott opens Venture Farm Cat Rescue's  new cattery in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANHelen McDermott opens Venture Farm Cat Rescue's new cattery in Mattishall. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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