Ipswich bowling green becomes doggy creche
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A new dog day-care centre has opened on the former bowling green near Westerfield Road in Christchurch Park – giving people with learning difficulties and autism the chance to work with animals and gain confidence.
The scheme is the brainchild of former county council worker Lisa Correll who said it would serve a double purpose - providing day-care for people with special needs and also providing a canine creche for people who needed to leave their pets somewhere safe while working during the day.
Ms Correll said: 'I have worked with people with learning disabilities and autism for 20 years and I will be looking to provide day care here while we also provide a service for dog owners.'
It will cost £15 a day to leave your dog at the daycare centre and it will be open from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Ms Correll added: 'After working with people with special needs for many years, I know that working with dogs is particularly good for them. In time as well as exercising them around the former bowling green we shall be doing some training with grooming and other services.'
The bowling green has been disused since the Christchurch Bowling Club folded in 2013 and had become seriously overgrown over the last six years.
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It has now been cleared and the clubhouse reopened for the creche: 'It is a really good centre now it has been brought back into use,' said Ms Correll.
The clients will pay a fee for their care at the creche along with pets' owners. At the start Ms Correll can accept up to six people with disabilities and six pet dogs - but if demand grows she can take on more staff.
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An advantage of the former bowling green is that it has an entrance straight on to Westerfield Road. Clients and dog-owners do not have to go through the park.
And all the care is delivered in the former bowling green: 'We may go out into the park, but there is quite a large area here and some of the clients want to be in an enclosed area because they feel safer.'
She said she had received support from both the county and borough councils - who would be checking on the safety of the dogs. And the centre had been opened thanks to a grant from Inga Lockington's council grant which had allowed new fencing to be put up.