It was sadly announced earlier this week that Cat Cafe Manchester was to permanently close the doors of its Northern Quarter premises “due to COVID-19”.
The chain’s Manchester branch became the latest business to close in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.
Confirming its closure on social media on Monday, Cat Cafe Manchester said: “We are truly heartbroken to announce this news, however due to COVID-19, Cat Cafe Manchester will be closing its doors.
“It has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, [though] as it stands we simply cannot afford to continue in our current unit [but] we hope to relaunch in a new premises once the pandemic is over, so please continue to bear with us through this very difficult time.”
The cafe was founded by sisters Ellie and Sarah Close in 2016, with a mission to “give you a new perspective” and “encourage the people of Britain’s greatest cities to be more cat”.
Before its closure, visitors paid to enter the cafe and spend time with its feline residents – who lounge around on a plethora of cushions and cat climbing frames – and was also popular with passers-by too, who could often be seen cat-watching through the floor to ceiling windows.
And it’s those very feline fans who have set up a fundraising page in the hopes of raising £5,000 to support the much-loved venue in its future endeavours.
“I know that money is tight at the moment with many people furloughed or out of work but anything that people can spare would help so much.” Lindsay explained.
“Many people will say “well it’s just a cafe why should we donate?”,
“[But] it’s not just a cafe with cats, they staff offer various film nights and times for autistic people to visit, as well as quiz evenings and other fun things.”
Lindsay continued: “For me, the closure of this happy place is upsetting as I am an autistic adult who is also disabled [and] this was my place to relax and be happy after a stressful day at work.
“I don’t know where I will go if this place closes as I need routine to keep me grounded.
“This place means the world to me and many others.”
Mental health and autism was always important to Cat Cafe Manchester.
“We had a lot of people with autism that used to come with carers and all sorts of things we used to do.” Owner Sarah Close explained to the MEN.
“One of the reasons we set the cafe up was because we think that cats can help with people’s mental health.”
Ellie and Sarah said they are “truly heartbroken” to say goodbye to the venue, but hope to reopen in a new unit once COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed, with Ellie adding: “It is really sweet that customers are fundraising to help save the cafe.
“We didn’t expect it at all.
“It’s such a difficult time financially for everybody, so it’s lovely to see people really want a cat cafe to stay in Manchester [and] as you can see from the responses, we have become a really loved venue in Manchester over the last four years.
“Any money that is raised is incredibly appreciated by myself and Sarah.
“It will help us be able to relaunch in a new unit once the pandemic is over, along with hopefully providing job security for our wonderful staff.”
Body found at Bolton restaurant and suspected cannabis farm days after fire
A body has been found at the site of a fire in Bolton, days after a blaze ripped through a restaurant.
It’s believed that the fire started on the first floor of the property, with early inquiries suggesting it may have been used as a cannabis farm.
Human remains were found at the premises on Bolton Road in Farnworth.
A criminal investigation is now underway and Greater Manchester Police are appealing for information and footage relating to the incident.
Emergency services had first been called to the area at around 1pm on Monday 27 November, to reports of a fire.
Earlier today, Saturday 2 December, a body was found during a search of the restaurant building, days after the fire.
Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Naismith of GMP Major Incident Team said: “Work is ongoing to identify the deceased and we are committed to ensuring the potential family members are fully supported and informed of updates in this investigation.
“The loss of life is a tragedy and I understand the upset this news will cause in the local community. I can assure you on behalf of the investigation team that we are determined to get to the bottom of what has occurred and establish the circumstances surrounding the fire.
“I can confirm this fire is being treated as suspicious and if there is any criminal responsibility, it will be brought to light and dealt with appropriately. We are particularly interested to hear from anyone who knows how this building was being used in the lead up to 27 November 2023.
“I would also like to appeal to anyone with information about the fire itself – including if you have any footage (such as CCTV, mobile or dashcam) – to contact GMP’s Major Incident Team.”
You can make a report by calling 0161 856 1995 quoting log number 1485 of 27/11/2023 or via the reporting function on GMP’s website: www.gmp.police.uk
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Tameside police officers hailed ‘absolute heroes’ after saving the life of a seven-year-old girl
Two Tameside police officers have been hailed as “absolute heroes” after saving the life of a seven-year-old little girl.
It comes after emergency services were called to an address in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside earlier this week (29 November), and found a young girl who was struggling to breath and coughing up blood after choking on a sweet.
Police Constables Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell, from Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) Tameside division, were first on the scene.
To the huge relief of the girl’s parents, who were said to be “understandably distressed” and concerned for her welfare, PC Kincaid jumped straight into action and was able to utilise his first aid training to full effect by going on to successfully dislodge the sweet from the youngster’s throat, and then helping to calm her down before the paramedics arrived.
Whilst PC Kincaid looked after the little girl, PC Blundell did “everything he could” to help the parents remain calm.
Paramedics then took over once they arrived, and the young girl was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Reflecting on the incident, and hailing his officers “absolute heroes”, Superintendent Mike Walsh, from GMP’s Tameside district, said: “PCs Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell acted without hesitation during the incident, and took control of the situation that they were faced with.
“They deserve every credit for staying calm under extreme pressure and for working together as a team and utilising their training to lifesaving effect, and I’m sure the girl’s parents and family will consider them to be absolute heroes.”
“We’re both glad that we were in the right place at the right time,” PC Kincaid added.
“I have a daughter the same age as the little girl who needed our help, and I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was when she started breathing normally and said she was okay after I had managed to dislodge the sweet.