HugglePets In the Community Royal Visit – 13th May 2021
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Wolverhampton, where they marked Mental Health Awareness week with visits to three different organisations that support the mental health and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults. During their visit to Wolverhampton, they stopped off at The Way and Base 25 to see the way they tackle mental health.
Finally, the Duke and Duchess visited our Wolverhampton Community Aquarium and Sensory Activity Centre, to see how we help peoples mental well-being using animal-assisted therapy. During their visit, they had the chance to meet pupils from Loxdale Primary School, who were invited down to take part in their weekly session. During their visit, the Duke and Duchess got to meet Rusty (chameleon), Barbara (bearded dragon), Gus (guinea pig), Millie and Mabel (rabbits).
After the session, our Director Mike Dixon had the chance to give the Duke and Duchess a tour of our sensory aquarium. Built-in November 2019 the aquarium is equipped with state of the art low lighting and silent pumps to create a calm environment to soothe visitors with disabilities such as autism. This Sensory Centre and Community Aquarium can support young and vulnerable people with their mental wellbeing.
HugglePets in the Community is our non for profit self-funded organisation established in 2018 to provide mental health and wellbeing support within the community. Bringing visitors into our sensory room and aquarium helps them to cope and deal with a number of things including stress, anxiety and learning disabilities. If the children are unable to visit our facilities, we take the animals to their schools three times a week to ensure they get the support necessary.
Ian Dixon, director of HugglePets, commented on the day’s activities and said: “The couple took part in an animal therapy session with children to build their confidence and support their mental health.
It was fantastic that they came to honour us, we came from nothing and set up this business from a crowdfunding campaign and with support from the community and local authority. We now have the backing of the National Lottery Community Fund.
We were so surprised that they found us and wanted to come and see what we do, it’s just fantastic for us.”