Interactions with Animals

Pets as Therapy

Pets As Therapy are Europe’s leading charity providing Animal Assisted Therapies all across the UK, including Norfolk.

We enhance health and wellbeing in the community through the visits of trusted volunteers with their behaviourally assessed animals. We also improve literacy in children by developing their confidence, interest and enjoyment in reading through our Read2Dogs scheme.

Prior to Covid 19 Norfolk volunteers have worked in most Norfolk hospitals, many care and nursing homes, schools, UEA, Norfolk Library Service, Norfolk Constabulary, Norwich University of the Arts, Nelson’s Journey, HMP’s Norwich, Bure and Wayland.

For further information please visit . You are also welcome to contact local Area Coordinator Carole Adam on .

Cuddly Cavies

Providing therapeutic activities with our trained guinea-pigs, filling the world with cuddles and squeaks since 2013. Designed to encourage, engage and enable the use of fine motor skills, prompt memories, encourage vocalization and provide a sensory experience for all.

  • Care home visits: Award winning specialists in therapeutic guinea-pig visits to all care settings, focusing on cognitive, sensory, fine motor skills & emotional engagement. Particularly in dementia, Alzheimer’s, brain injuries, stroke, autism & other disabilities
  • Education: Fun, interactive, & informative, sessions for schools, nurseries, community and private groups teaching first foundations of pet care combined with lots of  fun facts, guinea-pig cuddles, feeding and grooming
  • Cavies & Cake: Our new centre in the heart of Norfolk, Cavies & Cake a piggy paradise, for everyone, to come and relax with a cuppa, cake and of course a resident guinea-pig or two…..

Please visit and for our café!

Angelica’s Rainbow

Angelica’s Rainbow is a UK based non-profit enterprise, dedicated to the provision of opportunities for animals and people in need.

Based at our animal sanctuary and created from the science behind the human animal bond, our projects hold benefits that are therapeutic, educational and fun, whilst aiding social and practical skills development for all ages and abilities, with a strong focus on welfare.

AR was founded in Norwich, UK, but believes that every city needs an AR.

Our values are:

  • One Community: humans and animals are together in one community, as equals
  • Welfare First: the welfare of all beings matter, and is of the utmost importance
  • Kindness is Key: act and speak always from a place of kindness

Find out more at

Riding for the Disabled

Enriching lives through horses

At Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), our horses benefit the lives of over 25,000 disabled children and adults. With fun activities like riding and carriage driving, we provide therapy, fitness, skills development and opportunities for achievement – all supported by 18,000 amazing volunteers and qualified coaches at nearly 500 RDA centres all over the UK.

RDA is an inclusive and diverse organisation. We welcome clients with physical and learning disabilities and autism, and there are no age restrictions. Through our network of member groups, RDA is at work in every corner of the UK, in our cities and remote rural areas, bringing the therapy, achievement and fun of horses to as many people as we can.

We are a charity, and we can only carry out our life-changing activities thanks to the generosity of our donors, the dedication of our volunteers and the good nature of our fantastic horses.

There are 10 RDA Groups in Norfolk, which is one of the counties making up the East Region of RDA. Cambridge and Suffolk are also in the East Region but Lincolnshire is in the East Midlands Region.

The Magpie Centre, home of West Norfolk Riding for the Disabled Association, provides more than 100 riding and carriage driving lessons a week for people of all ages and with a wide variety of physical and learning disabilities. We have 12 horses and ponies of all shapes and sizes, which enable us to deliver these lessons, although, of course our activities have been suspended since March as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

November 2019 saw the pilot session of a new initiative, ‘Tea With a Pony’, whose aim was to bring together people living with dementia, plus their carers, for a social gathering over tea and cakes.  The session also included the chance to meet and greet some of the ponies, and handle items of tack and grooming equipment. The exercise was a resounding success, with care home managers observing that residents had been very much stimulated by the visit, and continued to talk about it for days afterwards.

A regular monthly programme was to have been set up, starting in March 2020, but this was put on hold because of the lockdown.

In the meantime, Trustee Rosie O’Grady visited a sensory garden and suggested that such a project could be undertaken at the Magpie Centre, to offer an added dimension to the  ‘Tea With a Pony’ visits. This is now under construction, and a large field shelter, with wheelchair access, has been erected, in which participants can safely meet and greet the ponies, and shelter in inclement weather.

Plans for both hard and soft landscaping have been drawn up for the sensory garden, including paved and gravelled paths, raised beds and a water feature and work on this is in its early stages, with completion proposed for spring 2021.

Find out more: and

People and Animals

Based in Wisbech, People & Animals UK is a Community Interest Company (No. 09738365) providing animal and land-based therapeutic interventions, activities, education and skills development opportunities for children, young people and adults to support and enhance the physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals and the wider community.

We provide a range of educational, community, outreach and farm-based activities which create opportunities for excluded and vulnerable people to engage, driving social change, and supporting coordinated community action in economically marginalised, isolated communities. We utilise the non-threatening appeal of animals and nature-based activities to overcome barriers faced, regardless of physical or learning disability, mental health challenges, age, culture, economic status or background.

Core aims are:

  • Development of skills
  • Alternative routes into education, training and employment
  • Community cohesion, resilience and pride
  • Support to statutory and community services
  • Improved health & wellbeing
  • Raised aspirations for brighter futures

We are based at a 7 acre community farm which was the first of its kind in the UK, beginning as a sugarbeet field in August 2018. Each aspect was designed by the community and built by the community, with those most vulnerable in mind along every step with our community-led steering group. The farm facilitates mutually beneficial collaboration and interaction between existing and new service providers.

The Farm is enabling us to increase the range of nature-based and animal-assisted therapeutic activities that we can offer; providing a wider range of animals that respond to different human behaviours; as well as providing a fuller curriculum of activities including therapeutic horticulture, willow weaving, apple pressing and green woodworking – broadening horizons and raising aspiration as people grow in confidence through our programmes and volunteering schemes.

From engagement to empowerment we provide stability and strong community connections to enable people to be heard where they have previously not had a voice.

Find out more:

Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Redwings Horse Sanctuary provides the opportunity for thousands of people every year to enjoy time with rescued horses and donkeys.

The charity’s visitor centres in Norfolk (Redwings Aylsham, north of Norwich, and Redwings Caldecott, near Great Yarmouth) offer the chance for all ages to interact with these calming and inquisitive creatures in beautiful outdoor settings – and entry is completely free.

For those who enjoy a cleansing walk in the fresh air, each centre provides plenty of open green space, including a new Memory Garden at Redwings Caldecott and nature trails, including two stunning wildlife ponds, at Redwings Aylsham. Dogs on leads are also welcome!

With large cafes, serving a selection of warm meals and snacks, both centres also act as perfect meeting places for people to socialise in a friendly and welcoming environment, and many wellbeing groups have chosen these venues for regular meet-ups, including Community Action Norfolk and MIND.

Every hot drink and slice of cake purchased helps fund the care of the horses and donkeys at the centres, so not only does everyone get to enjoy a peaceful day out, they can also go home in the knowledge that they’ve helped animals in need.

For those who would like to help a little further, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities available at the visitor centres, including gardening tasks to help keep their floral displays, memory gardens and pathways looking neat and tidy. Donating time in this way helps to enhance the experience of visitors and allow Redwings’ care teams to dedicate even more time to the horses. What could be more rewarding?

To find out more about volunteering as an individual, group or organisation please email


Due to Covid-19 restrictions, all Redwings visitor centres are currently closed. Please call 01508 481000 or check for the latest visiting times at your local centre before travelling.