This charity seeks to support and enhance the companionship and bond between people and their pets. It operates from Newmarket and covers West Suffolk. The work includes practical help for vulnerable or isolated people to manage their existing pets; visits from volunteers with a pet to lonely older people who are missing animal companionship; and help with looking after pets whilst people are in hospital or unable to manage due to illness or frailty. The charity is actively supporting around 150 people at any one time. A further 100 older people benefit through volunteers and their accredited pets making visits to local care homes and dementia units when COVID restrictions are not in place.
The Allen Lane Foundation has agreed a two-year grant totalling £7,000 to Our Special Friends. This will help with general running costs. Outcomes of the work include improved mental, emotional and physical health; reduced isolation and loneliness; and an increased capacity for older people to live independently.