Glimmer of hope for Blue Cross campaign

No final decision has yet been made to close Felixstowe's much-loved Blue Cross centre - and today charity chiefs promised to listen to all views.

FELIXSTOWE: No final decision has yet been made to close Felixstowe's much-loved Blue Cross centre - and today charity chiefs promised to listen to all views.

It gives campaigners a glimmer of hope but there is still a lot of fighting to do if the centre is to be saved.

Hundreds of people have so far signed petitions urging the well-respected charity to think again and its chief executive Kim Hamilton made a guarantee to The Evening Star that everyone's voice will be heard and their views taken into account when the time comes to make a decision.

That could be in around six weeks when consultation with the ten staff at the centre in Walton High Street is complete.

Ms Hamilton said she had been “overwhelmed” by the public support for the centre's work.

“The support from the community is phenomenal - we find that wherever we work but in Felixstowe the centre is obviously a big part of the community,” she said.

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“That passion and support is very much appreciated by the entire organisation.

“No final decision has been made yet. This truly is a consultation - it's about listening to staff and listening to the community before we make a decision.

“I guarantee that we are listening.”

The charity's governors are currently looking at the way forward for the organisation and the decision to close Felixstowe's Blue Cross - which has been in the town more than 50 years - is based on research which suggests more animals could be helped by switching the focus to another part of the country.

“We have got to make sure we are doing the right thing as we go forward and that we are able to help as many animals as we possibly can,” said Ms Hamilton.

Closing Felixstowe and Northiam, Sussex, would provide funds to open a centre in the north-west able to re-home 100 animals more each year and also provide far more veterinary clinic care.

FELIXSTOWE: A campaign group is being set up to fight to save Felixstowe's Blue Cross - and it needs your help.

The group of supporters will be collecting signatures and also holding special activities to try to persuade the charity's governing body that closing the resort's busy animal welfare and adoption centre is the wrong move.

Jenny Henderson, who is working to get the group up and running, said: “The response from people so far has been incredible - I cannot believe it.

“Now we have to keep it going and do everything we can to persuade the Blue Cross to change its mind and keep our wonderful centre here open.

“I am sure the staff are also drawing great comfort from the support.

“I am hoping the new group will come up with lots of ideas which we can put into action.”

A petition put into Pets at Home in Ipswich gathered more than 250 signatures in a day from people horrified at the possibility of losing the adoption centre.

Send us your messages of support for the Save the Blue Cross campaign - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

OPINION

There has been overwhelming opposition, hurt, disappointment and concern over the proposal to close Felixstowe's busy and popular Blue Cross animal centre.

To their credit, officials at the charity recognise the passion people have for the centre and its chief executive Kim Hamilton took time out from her busy schedule to visit The Evening Star to discuss the plans.

Ms Hamilton has pledged to listen to both staff and the community - and says it is a genuine consultation and guarantees people's views will be taken into account.

Of course, this is tempered with the charity's vision for its future and its perfectly proper desire to spend its money - all raised by the public - wisely and for the benefit of the most animals possible.

There is hope though - hope that the Blue Cross governors could change their minds and keep Felixstowe's centre open.

Everyone now has to play their part and make sure as many voices as possible are heard so there can be no doubt how much this centre is valued and needed.