VOLUNTEERS have launched a brand new venture in the Hillfoots in the hope of ensuring that every cat can find a safe and loving home.

The group has pulled together to create a small indepedent charity called The Cats Whiskers Alva and officially unveiled a shop at 58 Stirling Street last week.

By selling new and good-quality pre-loved items, the store aims to raise enough money to set up a rescue and rehoming centre in the Wee County.

Those who are behind the drive have been planning the launch for the last year or so and feedback has been positive so far.

Donna Hingley, a trustee of The Cats Whiskers Alva, said: "The businesses in Alloa that we approached have been absolutely fantastic, they really have, and the businesses up here have been lovely.

"It's been terrific the support we have had from the people in Alva and the businesses round about the area in Clackmannanshire."

The charity, run by a team of self-confessed cat lovers, hopes to become a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation soon.

And Donna, who has been volunteering with cats for more than 12 years, firmly believes there is a need for a centre in the Hillfoots area.

In her experience, a whole host of issues can lead to a cat being abandoned, given up for adoption or to it living as a stray out on the streets.

She says things like people losing their houses and ending up in rented accommodation, issues with finances, allergies, changes in family circumstances and more can have an impact.

And although the charity is not in a position to look after or rehome cats just yet, she is urging people to do what they can to ensure their safety.

She said: "Neutering, vaccinating and micro-chipping – they are the three essentials I would say for cats, for any animal.

"It's protecting the animal more than anything else and at the end of the day that's what we are all about.

"We wouldn't want to harm any cats, we wouldn't want to hurt any cats, but we certainly want to help them."

People can support the cause by making a donation, or handing in items for selling in the shop.

Clothing, bric-a-brac and more can be accepted, but the shop can't take in the likes of electricals, videos, buggies or child car seats.

To keep up to date or to find out more about raising money or volunteering, visit the website thecatswhiskersalva.org or visit the group on Facebook.