Felixstowe: Blue Cross animal centre gets new home

FELIXSTOWE: After six months of searching, Blue Cross bosses today found what they believe is the perfect new site for the charity’s vital work.

It will mean the closure and sale of the current animal adoption centre in Walton High Street, Felixstowe, to move to the former BT and civil service sports and social club, The Hollies, at Foxhall.

The charity says the building in Straight Road is structurally sound and will be given a complete refurbishment, and its two acres of grounds will provide all the space needed to exercise animals and expand its work further in the future.

Just 12 months ago, the adoption centre was facing the worst possible time – with the threat of closure hanging over it.

But after the Evening Star launched its successful Save the Blue Cross campaign with fabulous support from the public, bosses at the national charity did a U-turn and agreed the centre could stay if �1million could be raised for its expansion or a new home.

Proposals to buy land next to the centre to provide a dog exercise area fell through after the county council would not sell.

The Hollies, though, will be a better option – allowing for 25 per cent more dog kennels and cat pens, larger and more comfortable, sound-proofed facilities, keeping new admissions separate from animals waiting for new homes.

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It will also have an isolation area for unwell animals, a puppy and kitten facility, plus exercise areas, staff offices, a manager’s flat and storage.

There is also the possibility of a clinic and operating theatre, recovery rooms and X-ray facility for an on-site vet.

“It is really exciting – the possibilities are endless and we will be able to help so many more animals than we are able to at the moment,” said centre manager Andrew Gillon.

“At the moment, our animal welfare clinic here in Felixstowe is one-and-a-half hours on one afternoon a week.

“At The Hollies, we would be able to expand that enormously – helping all the clients we currently serve as well as others from a much wider area.”

Mr Gillon said it had been a remarkable year for the Blue Cross and thanked everyone who had been involved in the Evening Star campaign, all those who had donated to the appeal, those who had re-homed animals and supported the centre in any way.

“We were aiming to raise �1.1m to refurbish and extend here in Walton – with the sale of the site here, the purchase and refurbishment of The Hollies will not cost much more,” he said.

Blue Cross chief executive Kim Hamilton said: “Our plans are ambitious and have the potential to help a lot more animals by extending our reach while still fulfilling our commitment to the pets and people of Felixstowe.”