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Animal charity to close shop after it is unable to pay rent amid coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 12:01 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:49 19 May 2020

Feline Care Cat Rescue at East Harling has been forced to close its Diss store. Pictured: FCCR

Feline Care Cat Rescue at East Harling has been forced to close its Diss store. Pictured: FCCR

Archant

A charity shop has been forced to close as it is unable to afford rent due to a drop in income from the coronavirus pandemic.

Ian Lavender and Rick Wakeman open the Feline Care charity shop in Diss six years ago. Picture: ArchantIan Lavender and Rick Wakeman open the Feline Care charity shop in Diss six years ago. Picture: Archant

Feline Care Cat Rescue will be closing its Diss store, in Market Place, which it moved into six years ago as it can no longer afford the £1,100 monthly rent.

Molly Farrar, manager of Feline Care Cat Rescue in East Harling, said: “Our charity shop started making a loss quite early on as people stopped shopping in high streets as much.

“By the end of March we were running at a loss... It was tearful for all of us. We have been in the store for six years and it was a big thing for us to be opening our second shop, a big moment for feline care, it feels like a loss, it was our Diss home but we are staying positive and the manager, staff and volunteers can’t wait for us to re-open when it comes to it.”

The charity also has a store in Attleborough where it has reached an agreement with the landlord to lower rent.

Feline Care Cat Rescue shas been forced to close its Diss store. Photo: Bee WilkinsonFeline Care Cat Rescue shas been forced to close its Diss store. Photo: Bee Wilkinson

Ms Farrar, 43, said she has not been able to arrange the same type of deal in Diss.

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“We couldn’t keep paying rent indefinitely on a shop that we don’t know will re-open,” she added.

“We don’t know when the high street will re-open and recover, charity shops are not essential and we don’t want to put our staff and volunteers at risk at a time when they will be at risk facing customers.

Ian Lavender and Rick Wakeman open the Feline Care charity shop in Diss six years ago. Picture: ArchantIan Lavender and Rick Wakeman open the Feline Care charity shop in Diss six years ago. Picture: Archant

“We have received the £10,000 small business grant fund from the government which puts us in a good position to open something new but animal charities have had no direct support from the government.

“We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We have no fundraising we can do apart from online and contact free which is difficult when we are so used to relying on our charity shops.”

The stock from the store has been put into a storage container at the charity’s base, with the hope that it can re-open another store when the time comes.

Estate agents Hudson Property Services, which manages the property on behalf of the landlord, did not wish to comment.

For more information or to donate go to www.felinecare.org.uk or search Feline Care Cat Rescue on Facebook.


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