Please see our statement below and offer your support in whichever way you can to allow us to continue our vital work for cats throughout Greenwich and beyond.
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The faces that you see above represent only a fraction of the cats that The CatCuddles Sanctuary has helped over the years. Cats who have been neglected, unwanted, abandoned, and cats who have been cherished and loved until circumstances parted them from their owners. For over 7 years, our dedicated Volunteer Team have fought tooth and nail to save every kind of cat, with every kind of story.
But in recent months, we have been facing a crisis beyond our control that has the potential to drastically reduce the number of cats that we can help, for an indefinite period of time, particularly in the borough of Greenwich.
Evina Koroni, the founder of the CatCuddles Sanctuary, has been fostering abandoned, unwanted and stray cats at her home for 9 years. Though CatCuddles was founded in 2009, prior to its conception Evina fostered for charities such as Cats Protection Greenwich, Celia Hammond and Cats Protection Bexley.
Last year, Evina was directed to gain retrospective planning permission for this fostering from Greenwich Council. There was every indication that this was a mere formality, as Evina had been peacefully fostering for such a long period already, often to the benefit of her local community.
However, to the shock and dismay of both Evina and the CatCuddles team, this application was declined on February 1st 2017. There are a huge number of issues with the reasons cited for this refusal, however for legal reasons we are unable to go into detail at this point.
As the charity’s founder, Evina is the most important in a network of volunteer foster carers across London. Whilst other volunteer fosterers care for just one or two cats at their homes, Evina fosters a small number, with volunteers visiting daily between the hours of 10am and 2pm to help feed, clean and socialize them. You can view photos of Evina’s home in the slideshow above, taken with her consent by volunteers only days before the council’s decision was made
Still, fostering this small number of cats has a big impact, as most are adopted from Howarth Rd very rapidly. This quick adoption turnover means that through Evina’s fostering alone the charity helps literally hundreds of cats, taking many from the most unfortunate of circumstances and placing all in loving forever homes.
Through Evina’s fostering, the charity also helps local vets who’ve had cats dumped on their premises, neuters hundreds of stray cats in the area to help to keep their explosive numbers down, provides free advice to local cat owners on responsible ownership, helping many to arrange neutering for their own pets, and of course pairs hundreds of formerly unwanted cats with loving adoptive families.
If Evina is forced to cease fostering however, this will all stop. The total number of cats that CatCuddles can help will be hugely diminished for an unknown period of time as the charity readjusts, and the charity’s presence in Greenwich may be reduced permanently; though we have an up-and-coming cat rehoming centre and vet clinic in Palmers Green, this centre will focus primarily on North London.
And so with the CatCuddles volunteer team behind her, Evina will be appealing the council’s decision, a process that will cost upwards of £2500, a huge amount for a charity that receives no official funding aside from donations. On Evina's suggestion, the charity trustees have made the conscious decision not to utilise funds donated by the public for the cats to cover professional fees for the planning process and appeal. For this reason we are fundraising and would be happy to open a communication line with all donors willing to help us cover the planning bill, and we welcome all donations from the public. Even the smallest amount will take us a step closer to our daunting goal.
UPDATE - We have now far surpassed our fundraising goal and have sufficient funds for pursuing an appeal. Thank you to everyone who donated!
But we need your help in other ways, too.
Whether you are an adopter, a follower of the charity’s work or someone who has benefited from it in the past, we need you to contact Greenwich Council and the relevant MPs and councillors using the details below, and let them know that you support CatCuddles in appealing this decision.
Sign our petition to allow fostering to continue at Howarth Road
After fostering cats at her home for nine years without issue, Greenwich Council want to prevent Evina Koroni from further fostering. Please sign our petition to ask Greenwich Council to rethink their decision and allow this important work to continue. Please share the petition to all your friends
Help us to raise funds for an appeal of the planning decision
Greenwich Council's decision to refuse retrospective planning permission for fostering at Evina's home is going to seriously impact the quality and quantity of care catcuddles can give to the cats we help. We need to raise a minimum of £2500 to appeal the decision and as a small charity that receives no grants or outside funding, we desperately need your help. UPDATE - We have now far surpassed our fundraising goal and have sufficient funds for pursuing an appeal. Thank you to everyone who donated! Please help us by continuing to sign and share the petition above though.
Contact people on our behalf
If you feel that Catcuddles good work at Howarth Road should not be prevented in this way, please make your support known to the people below, either in writing, via social media, or in person (Surgery times for councillors are listed below). The more feedback they receive, the more likely they will be to be to support our fight to continue. You can tweet your support for us using the hashtag #SaveCatCuddlesSE2.
One of our volunteers has created a pdf factsheet which you can download here outlining the basic facts which you may find helpful to use when contacting people on our behalf.
Catcuddles, or The Catcuddles Sanctuary, is a registered charity founded in July 2009 by Evina Koroni, who started it from her home at Howarth Road in Abbey Wood, Greenwich. Evina gained fostering experience fostering from her home for several other established charities in preceding years and decided to set up Catcuddles based on the principle of home-from-home (as opposed to institutionalised) care of cats in need of new adoptive homes. The charity soon started growing a fostering network in and around Abbey Wood and built a volunteer team in excess of 40 people all organised to help rescue, rehome and rehabilitate abandoned, unwanted and stray cats.
In in the first quarter of 2017, Catcuddles is opening a rehoming centre in Palmers Green, a project which is the culmination of 3 years of planning, fundraising and hard work. The charity is also moving its registered office and administrative activities to Palmers Green, while keeping the Greenwich fostering hub and fostering network active to serve the local population needs and keep the local volunteers engaged in their chosen community work. The fostering network around the Greenwich hub will remain and expand as it has over the past 7 years, in order to help as many cats as the foster homes can comfortably accommodate.
The Palmers Green Rehoming centre will be combined with an in-house cat-only veterinary practice (a ‘cat clinic’) to service both the charity cats in care and meet the needs of the local community. All revenue from the cat clinic will be ploughed back into the charity’s welfare activities. There is already a growing pool of local volunteers in North London waiting to help. As regards the core activities of the charity, the Palmers Green centre will be modelled on and take over from the existing, successful Greenwich hub and expand to other areas up to now out of the reach of a small charity.
The Greenwich fostering hub is based in a private home in a residential street. Many of the cats are placed with foster volunteers away from the centre whilst awaiting rehoming. In the centre itself a 12 sq metre purpose built heated unit in the garden and 6 custom made cat chalets with an area of 18sqm house the cats in care. All units are heated, lit, double-glazed and fully insulated both for the comfort of the cats and to ensure there is no disturbance to the neighbours. There has been a single complaint from a neighbour during the 7 years of operation, which was swiftly dealt with direct with the Council and we have had none since. Catcuddles has been featured in the local press several times, once also when visited by the local MP, Teresa Pearce, who also featured the visit on her official Website (http://www.teresapearce.org.uk/2012/12/teresa-offers-support-and-cuddles-to-local-cat-charity/).
Cleanliness and hygiene are essential both for the welfare of the cats in care and for the sake of the local community. For this reason a team of 12 volunteers cover a 365 day rota of hygiene duties. Volunteers clean all cat hosting facilities every day starting at 10am and running through to mid-afternoon. Cats are clean animals by nature and groom themselves but daily checks are made on each cat in care to ensure cleanliness and wellbeing and all waste material is removed and double bagged. Bedding is washed weekly and every time there is a changeover of cat. In terms of feline vocalisation, cats that are relocated, unwell or new to their surroundings as a rule keep quiet in an attempt not to appear vulnerable. There is therefore no noise pollution, especially as they are all kept in closed, insulated and ventilated suites. Prospective adoptive homes are invariably inspected pre-adoption by the key volunteer team and post adoption checks are carried out to ensure care is satisfactory. No cat is rehomed without being neutered, vaccinated, parasite-treated, health checked and micro-chipped.
We at Catcuddles believe we offer an invaluable service treating and rehoming the unwanted, abandoned and stray cat population of the communities we serve and promoting responsible and compassionate cat ownership at every opportunity and communication with the public.