Woman and dog in silhouette on the beach

Link in the chain

Tackling mental health, poverty and loneliness through pet ownership


Thursday 28 November 2019


IET London: Savoy Place, 2 Savoy Pl, London WC2R 0BL

About the conference

A one-day conference focussing on the benefits and barriers to pet ownership. We will examine the role pets can play in people’s lives and specifically look at the issues of mental health, isolation and loneliness and poverty and low income. We will hear stories of how pets have changed people’s lives for the better and helped them in challenging circumstances.

Topics covered will include

  • Support for pet owners in crisis
  • Affordable vet care provision
  • Pets and mental health
  • Pets and the elderly
  • Housing and pets
  • Use of animal assistance therapy
  • Alleviating symptoms of loneliness

This is a timely opportunity to bring together the third sector, politicians and academics to recognise the role pets play in people’s lives and to discuss how we can work collaboratively to ensure more people can enjoy the benefits of pet ownership and contact with animals. We hope you will be able to join us on 28th November for what promises to be an informative day.

Sold out

We will be livestreaming the day so please feel free to tune in below. The live stream can be accessed between 9am – 5pm. Timings may be subject to small changes.

Live stream

Registration will open at 9am, ready for a 9.30am start.

Order of the day

Chair: Sally de la Bedoyere

Opening from Sally de la Bedoyere – Blue Cross

Steve Goody – Blue Cross
Tackling mental health, poverty and loneliness through pet ownership

Vicki Nash – Mind
Mental health and Pets: life-saving or problem exacerbating?

Dr Mel Moss - Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation
Impact of AAT in Acute Mental Health

Bronwen Williams – Registered Mental Health Nurse
Our Animals, Our Mental Health

BREAK 11.00am-11.25am

Chair: Claire Horton

Rich Casey – Blue Cross
User focussed vet care: a call to collaborate

Zoe Edwards – Mayhew
The power of the human animal bond; saving animals lives by saving peoples lives

Ailsa Jones – PDSA
PDSA – Helping people and pets in poverty when they need us most

Clare Kivlehan – Dogs Trust
Dogs Trust Hope Project – delivering and innovating to support dog owners in housing crisis

BREAK 12.50 pm-1.50pm

Chair: Lord Trees

Nick Sedgwick – Anchor Hanover
Supporting health and wellbeing in housing for older people

Lyn Ambrose – Pets Against Loneliness
Pets Against Loneliness: A scalable model of a grassroots project.

Jennifer Dixon-Clegg – British Horse Society
If our Great-Grandparents asked… ”So what do horses do now?

Gilly Mendes Ferreira – Scottish SPCA
Can pets make a positive impact on human lives regardless as to how old or young you are?

BREAK 3.15pm-3.40pm

Chair: Steve Goody – Blue Cross

Panel discussion; What benefits can animals bring to individuals and the wider community?
Karen Janes – Blue Cross
Andrew James – Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
Jenny Stavisky - University of Nottingham/ Vets in the Community
Amy Rosa & Mandy Bentley – St Mungo’s Outside In Forum


Download our report, A Link in the Chain

Pets help us in so many ways. Watch our stories of the difference pets are making to mental health, poverty and loneliness in the UK today.

Amanda and Jasmine's story

Elwyn and Badger's story

Paula's and Benji's story, with St Mungo's

Stories from Anchor Hanover's residential homes

Stories from Pets Against Loneliness (PAL)

Community cats from Mayhew


— Page last updated 13/08/2020