Trainees at Papworth Trust Workwise in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, have made a rehabilitation wheel for an arthritic Bengal cat called Denver (see video link below), which has sparked a run of orders for the social enterprise.

Papworth Trust Workwise provides work based-training to adults with mental ill health. It has several large workshops, where trainees can learn how to make a variety of products, from textiles to woodwork.

Denver’s owners, Mr and Mrs Westley from Warrington in Cheshire, first heard about Papworth Trust Workwise from an advert for a cat wheel on the internet. The wheel wasn’t big enough for Denver, who weighs in at a mighty 18 pounds, so they got in touch with Papworth Trust Workwise with their exact specification. It had to be large enough for Denver but easy enough for a smaller cat to turn, because the Westleys foster cats with leg problems and amputations.

Steve Westley said, “Denver is on the mend now and the wheel has really helped. I was impressed with the team at Papworth Trust Workwise because they were really switched on to what we needed, and we are very pleased with the finished wheel. From the day it arrived, the cats have fought over it.”

The parts for the wheel were made from MDF and pine, and cut out using a computer numerical control (CNC) machine. Tracey Brown was part of the woodwork team that finished the wheel, sanded it down and painted it.

Tracey said, “I was brought up with pets and it was great to see the video of Denver on the wheel and to know that I did something to help him. His was the first customised cat wheel we made, but now we’ve had a lot more orders for similar ones for other cats.”

Tracey has been supported by Papworth Trust Workwise since 2011 and said of the charity,

“I’d be a mess without Workwise. Training here has really improved my confidence and self-esteem.”

Working in partnership with West Suffolk College, award winning social enterprise Papworth Trust Workwise provides work-based training and specialist employment support for people with mental ill health. It aims to help people build confidence, learn new skills and gain qualifications.

For more information about Papworth Trust Workwise, please go to