The History of Canine Partners

Canine Partners was founded in 1990, thanks to Anne Conway (Assistance Dogs enthusiast and dog welfare campaigner) and Liz Ormerod (well-known vet and Animal Assisted Therapy expert) , who had spent several years researching Assistance Dog programmes worldwide during the late 1980's. Canine Partners was based on the model of The SOHO Foundation of Holland, an established assistance dogs programme.

Anne and Liz were joined by Nicky Pendleton who, as an Occupational Therapist, brought expertise in the field of disability, and by Roger Jefcoate CBE who became our Vice President and sponsored the training of the first three dogs, Alex, Angus and Alfred, in 1994.


The Charity rented various Hampshire-based premises over the years. It wasn't until 2003 that we began to operate from a Training Centre of our own, in Heyshott, West Sussex. A former polo yard and farm with various outbuildings, the Heyshott site had potential for conversion to specialist facilities. Dogs were trained while building-work progressed and the Centre was officially opened in 2005 by our Patron, HRH the Duke of Gloucester. Our facilities lead the way in accessibility for disabled people. 


We are indebted to all those who have played their part in getting us to where we are today, and to the funders of our facilities including The National Lottery, The Bradbury Foundation, The Clothworkers' Foundation, The Henry Smith Charity, The James Tudor Foundation, The Lockwood Family Foundation, The Monument Foundation, The Patrick Frost Foundation. We also thank Colonel and Mrs Alan Jukes, Lord and Lady Kindersley, and a whole range of other trusts and individuals from our "extended family" in the community - your generosity has helped to make our dreams become reality.

With over 1 million people using wheelchairs in the UK, we are aware that there is still a great deal of work for us to do, and our next step must be to open a second Training CEntre in the Midlands.

Latest News

We are on television again!
Following our massively successful BBC Lifeline Appeal two weeks ago, we are back on BBC1 on Friday 10 October at 11.00am in the programme Saints and Scroungers.

HRH Prince Harry meets Jon Flint and Varick at the Invictus Games
One of our partners, Jon Flint, who has canine partner Varick, was honoured to meet Prince Harry at the Invictus Games yesterday.

Pam Ayres films our BBC Lifeline Appeal
Poet and national treasure Pam Ayres recently spent time at our southern training centre filming for our BBC Lifeline Appeal which is broadcast on Sunday 21 September at 4.15 PM.

CEO's Blog

Four new partnerships - and Natalie and Faye are stars on TV

17 Oct

Didn’t Natalie and canine partner Faye do us absolutely proud on Saints & Scroungers this week? Faye gave such a brilliant insight into the challenges she has overcome in her life, and how Faye has really helped her to achieve greater independence. It really reminds us what Canine Partners is all about. Very humbling indeed and extremely inspiring.  Read more


Canine Partners’ Leicestershire Training Centre

Canine Partners needs to raise £3.1million to build a second Training Centre in order to train more dogs and change more lives.

We have purchased a site in a village called Osgathorpe, halfway between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Loughborough, which has a range of barns, outbuildings and associated land. The plan is to replace the barns and adapt some of the outbuildings to create the specialised buildings we need.

Having a Midlands Training Centre will not only increase our output, it will also make the charity far more accessible for those on our waiting list who are unable to make the long journey to our centre in West Sussex. 42% of the applications we received last year were from people living in the mid and northern regions of the UK. Many of our existing partnerships will also benefit from being able to receive support from the new centre.

The site will consist of a training centre and office facilities, fully accessible accommodation and kennelling.

This is an extremely exciting time for Canine Partners and we would be delighted to receive your support.

For more information about this project, please contact Cat Harvey on 01730 716018 or email catharvey@caninepartners.org.uk

Jobs available at the new centre will be advertised on our Vacancies page here: Work for us

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