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

Pets Corner extends support to celebrate 25 life-changing years
Pets Corner is extending its support for Canine Partners by asking all its 200,000 customers to give an extra 25 pence with their purchase for the next two weeks. And in a further amazing gesture, if any customers spend more than £25 in the next fortnight, Pets Corner will double it!

Canine Partners largest ever 'purple army' complete Reading Half Marathon
Dedicated Nick Poole and his team of 130 runners have raised an incredible £33,000 for Canine Partners.

Glenis and Brian Lawrenson are paw-some volunteers!
Dedicated Glenis and Brian Lawrenson have been nominated for the Havant Volunteer Awards 2015 – having devoted 12 years to assistance dog charity Canine Partners.

CEO's Blog

Partnerships, half marathons, pups and record-breaking T towels

27 Mar

Blimey! It’s been a busy couple of weeks! I reckon the last time I spoke to you, we were about to head up to Crufts, which seems like an age away now. Didn’t Katy & Folly do us absolutely proud?! I lose count of the people who contacted us, so inspired were they by their story. Other highlights were our Main Arena display, which was broadcast live on YouTube, and a hectic time on our stand resulting in nearly £4,000 in donations and merchandise sales. We almost added to this figure because staunch volunteer Suzetta couldn’t get the hang of the posh new electronic till, and tried charging several people £4,950 for a tea towel (They’re good, but they’re not that good). 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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