A charity which aims to highlight the issue of UK cats being stuck up trees has welcomed government proposals for new ‘hyperlocal’ TV stations.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has invited tenders for new services, initially to run in 10-12 British cities, prompting a warm response from DOWNTiddles, a small charity based in Oxford.
“This proposal will delight the whole feline arboriculture rescue sector,” said David Barker, the charity’s Development Director.
“At present, we estimate that there are three to four cat up tree incidents every day in the UK, and hardly any of them achieve more than a few lines in the local paper.”
“With dedicated truly local news stations, the potential for extra publicity is very exciting, both for us and for our agency stakeholders,” he said.
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One such stakeholder is the Fire Brigade, which works closely with the charity on frontline rescue.
A spokesman for the FBU, the service’s trade union, echoed Mr. Barker’s enthusiasm.
“To be honest, our members very rarely get on the telly, except for if there’s a really really big fire, preferably with some exploding oil drums or the like,” he said. “Or when we’re on strike.”
“Whereas some of the dangerous cat up tree work we do goes completely unnoticed by the general public.”
“Our hope would be that these new local TV stations would show the day-to-day cat rescue heroism of firefighters, perhaps live, on rolling news. Our 9/11 moment, if you like.”
Members of the public also appear to be behind the scheme.
Dav Patel is a grocery store owner from Crystal Palace. “I can see how it would be useful – I would certainly be interested in viewing features about a marginally controversial cycle path planned for Finchley,” he said.
His neighbour, John Finch, commented “I can see that this is the same sort of local TV model as they have in the USA, and that works.”
“Let’s face it, the UK is at least as geographically vast as the USA, so I’m sure it could happen here.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Barker is hoping that wider exposure will open up new fundraising opportunities.
“What with the general economic downturn, charities like ours are struggling,” he admitted.
“There are fundraisers for kids with cancer, for the floods in Queensland, for AIDS and for African famine. It is a challenge to interest people in cats up trees.”