Wigan cat rescue's doors will stay open thanks to supporters' £15k fund-raising success

A kind-hearted team of volunteers have raised more than £15,000 to ensure a Wigan cat rescue can keep its doors open.

Janette Barton and Samantha Gallagher set up Cats Guidance Rescue in 2018 to care for unwanted cats and find them new homes in Wigan and Bolton.

But a rise in demand and soaring costs meant the pair were struggling to make ends meet and feared they would have to shut the rescue.

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Janette Barton at Cats Guidance Rescue, based in Hindley Green. The charity has inspired a group of supporters to form a fund-raising committee with lots of events planned.

Janette shared their plight on social media – and thankfully her message caught the attention of the rescue’s supporters.

Jennifer Wilson, who followed the organisation on social media, said: “It had got to the stage where they could have possibly been closing the doors after Christmas. I watched the post and remember it well. It was so emotional and Janette was so upset. I wanted to do something and I know everyone else did too.”

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Supporters started discussing what they could do to help and around 20 people formed a fund-raising committee.

They soon got to work and are now seeing the money roll in.

One of the resuce's feline residents

Jennifer, who lives in Leigh, said: “We all give 100 per cent to try to raise as much money as we can.

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"We had a wreath-making session last Saturday, which was fantastic. We made beautiful natural wreaths to hang on doors.

"We also had our first craft fair in Hindley. We did really well.”

Already the group has raised £15,000 to help the rescue stay open and members are continuing their efforts to ensure its future survival.

Janette said: “This is about raising money, because we need that money to keep going. Vet bills can be £4,000 to £5,000 a month and costs are going up.

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"But it’s also about engaging people and getting the message out there and getting people involved – that’s as important as anything. We have a dedicated group of followers, but can only keep asking the same people for financial support, so we have to reach new people.”

She is also keen to highlight the importance of responsible cat ownership, after seeing more and more animals needing help.

The rescue has looked after 250 cats in the past 12 months and the team of fosterers can care for around 75 cats at any one time.

But even more cats are needing help now, as pet ownership increased during the pandemic lockdowns and vaccinations and neutering were not always carried out.

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There are also concerns about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

Janette is urging people to support the rescue so the team can keep helping and is looking for businesses able to help financially.

The fund-raising committee’s upcoming events include: a fair on Market Square, Hindley, from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday, December 3; craft fairs at The Brocket Arms, Swinley, from 10am to 4pm and at Highfield Cricket Club from 11am to 4pm, both on Saturday, December 10; an evening of spiritual mediumship at 7pm on Friday, March 10 at Wigan Cricket Club; and a fashion show at St James’ Social Club, Orrell, at 1pm on Saturday, April 15.

Find out more about Cats Guidance Rescue on its Facebook page.