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

First BIG Bluebell Dog Walk
Our first BIG Bluebell Dog Walk of the season took place this Sunday in London, launching a record number of walks for 2014. There are 14 walks to choose from all over the country with the first at leafy Eltham Park South, Eltham in London. Organiser Julia Milligan invited walkers to join her for the hour-long stroll through the bluebells at the Glenesk Road park from 10.30am. The BIG Bluebell Dog Walk enjoyed a scenic hour long walk to raise funds and awareness for the Charity.

Solidering On with Steve and Kizzie
Saturday night saw one of our favourite partnerships take centre stage at the Soldiering On Awards in Central London. Steve and canine partner Kizzie were honoured at the annual event and named winner of the Soldiering On Canine Award 2014. The former Royal Navy Petty Officer had won a public vote to take the title. Readers of the Sunday Mirror as well as the huge family that is Canine Partners supporters and volunteers chose the partnership to lift the coveted title.

Passing the baton for Canine Partners
One of our partnerships and two puppy parents have been chosen to play their part in the Queen's Baton Relay as part of the celebrations for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. Zoe McLean and Remus and dedicated puppy parents Lorraine Bonnar and Graham Smith have been selected to carry the baton on its way to launch the XX Games. The baton left Buckingham Palace on 9 October last year and will travel to 70 Commonwealth countries before it arrives in Scotland for the opening ceremony in Glasgow on 23 July.

CEO's Blog

The London Marathon - an alternative view

Andy Cook - Monday, April 14, 2014
Well what an amazing day!! If anyone ever gives you the chance to take part in the London Marathon, grab it with both hands first, and think of the pain afterwards, as a necessary evil of participating in a once in a lifetime experience. I never dreamed my name would get pulled out of the hat - only one in seven do - and I must admit I had very mixed feelings when it did, last October, as your life is then committed to a winter of training. But w  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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