Cafe for dogs and their owners desperately need new place to meet
- Credit: Archant
A community group that promotes social and mental benefits through dog-assisted activities is calling for support or risk being closed for good.
The K9 Community Café in Ely has been building a community of dog-lovers at the Cathedral Conference Centre since 2012, before the Covid-19 outbreak forced the venue to close.
In the meantime, the social project has been meeting outside temporarily, but without finding a new venue to host the weekly gatherings, the group faces an uncertain future.
Chris Kent, founder of the K9 Project, said: “It is the like the end of an era. Covid has made us realise that we cannot take anything for granted, and maybe the time for the Café is over, but we hope not.”
The café has met outside Prospects Trust Unwrapped, another Ely-based social enterprise on Lynn Road.
However, outdoor space at the facility will be limited over winter while their ‘Canopy of Care’ project is completed, which will enable people to keep socialising safely in all conditions.
A spokesperson for the K9 Community Café said: “With other businesses and charities forced to move their operations online because of Covid restrictions, the K9 Café has largely been left behind.
“Contact with the ‘canines’ at the heart of this café is the key to many of the social and health benefits that the project promotes, for both dogs and people.”
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A survey carried out by The Kennel Club showed 91 per cent of dog owners agreed that their dog has helped them cope with the pandemic, with 61 per cent describing their dog as a lifeline during lockdown.
One regular to the K9 café said that she would “miss the support and the friends that kept me going when things got tough” if it was to close down.
It’s hoped with a new venue, the café can continue to provide a boost to people’s lives in a bid to help those most in need during uncertain times.
The spokesperson added: “Without the K9 Café, not only will we be losing a strong local community built over years, we’re also leaving some of the most vulnerable people in our society, trying to cope at home alone.
“Whether you’ve a new puppy, an old dependable dog or you’d just love to spend time enjoying other peoples’ dogs, the K9 Café would love to be able to welcome you inside its new venue, wherever that might be.”
If you can help provide a Covid-secure venue, get in touch with the K9 Community Cafe at: https://www.facebook.com/thek9cafe.