About Us


Hi, I’m Jana

Yard Manager

Hi, I am the Yard Manager here at The Hugs Foundation. This role utilises my skills I have gained over the years working within the equine industry –  U.K and abroad. I also have a degree in Animals Science, Behaviour and Welfare. I enjoy breaking down the horses reactions and ‘problems’ to really understand the why it is exhibiting different behaviours. The wild horses and ‘worriers’ are my favourite to work with – it is just facinating to see their transformation after a small amount of time here at Hugs.

I have personally competed my own horses – favourite discipline being cross country.

Hugs is amazing as not only do we help these abandoned and unwanted horses, we also open our doors to volunteers and work experience students. This ensure that we can help educate others about the difficulties horses in the U.K can face.

Hi, I’m Dawn

Youth Services Manager

Hello everyone, my name is Dawn Nicholas and I am delighted to become part of the team at The Hugs Foundation.

During my times of employment, I have had many diverse roles. Before joining Hugs I was employed in the education sector as a lecturer for public services students. As well as studies in academia I had included in the curriculum many outdoor experiences to develop self-esteem and physical and mental strengths. Seeing students developed in a holistic way was extremely rewarding and I have been privileged to see many of my past students succeed in the armed forces, fire service, police etc. It is especially rewarding when some of those people have had to overcome personal health needs and other difficulties. Here at The Hugs Foundation I will be working as a youth services manager, this holistic approach is ideal for building social skills, self-confidence and enable the opportunity to become full community citizens who can contribute to the communities future.

Hi I’m Gemma

Yard Assistant

I am one of the yard assistants here at The Hugs foundation. I have worked with horses before however this is the most exciting job role I have had within the industry.  It’s a very rewarding job working within a charity that cares for horses and other animals. Its very warming watching each animal progress whilst they are in our care and going on to progress further with their new owners once they become rehomed. Working well with the rest of the team also means that the animals are in the best care whilst they are here.

Hi, I’m Lisa

Mental Health & Equine Intervention Support

I am one of the Mental Health & Equine Intervention Support workers. I’ve just landed my dream job! What more could a girl ask for to be playing 😁 sorry I mean working with horses, ponies, children and young adults with Mental health.

As a farmer’s daughter I have developed a great knowledge of nature, the environment, holistic and homeopathic remedies, and I love sharing my wisdom. I’m hard working, with a big heart, I can think on my feet and I’m really happy to be part of a amazing place. It’s so rewarding to rehabilitate the animals. It warms your heart to see the children’s faces when they are with all of our different animals.

One last thing I’d like to add, being a farmers daughter, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a bit of baler twine!

Hi, I’m Kelly

Yard Assistant

I am one of the yard assistants, this is my first time working for a charity like this and it is so rewarding watching the progress that each horse is gaining , it’s great fun and it’s lovely building relationships with all the horses and colleagues.

Hi, I’m Laura

Charity Fundraising Coordinator

I’m the Charity Fundraising Coordinator here at Hugs. My role is really varied and includes fundraising, admin and office duties PLUS helping out the Equine and Youth Services team. I am very excited to be working with such an amazing team and charity. I have an FdSc in Animal Behaviour and Psychology and a BA (Hons) in Human Behavioural Studies, which I completed this June (2019) and specialised in mental health and well-being. I am working towards becoming an expert in both animal and human behaviour to work with both to improve mental well-being and give a sense of purpose and happiness back into their lives.

I am extremely driven and passionate and am very outgoing, friendly and caring. I have ridden most of my life but I like to be a bit different so I ride western style, like a cowgirl! I have studied lots of different horsemanship methods such as Tom Dorrance, Buck Brannaman, Pat Parelli and Monty Roberts and have learnt to use a bit of everything to train my horses. I find it really useful to have lots of tools in the bag so if a horse doesn’t understand what I’m asking, I can try a different way.

I am also passionate about equine-assisted therapy and am an Eagala certified practitioner. Coming into the office every morning and being greeted by the dogs, Monty the office cat and all the other animals is always a great way to start the day. Hugs, is such an amazing place, helping both animals and people and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for the team here.

Hi, I’m Hannah

Yard Assistant 

I am one of the Yard Assistance at Hugs.

I have grown up with horses all my life. I currently own two horses which i compete regularly.
I am studying my BHS Challenge Awards along side work. This gives me lots of knowlegde and skills to bring forward to Hugs.

I enjoy the challenge of unhandled horses watching their transformation to ‘well behaved’ rehomable horses.

Hi, I’m Hazel

Mental Health Intervention Support Worker

I am excited to be a part of the Youth Services team here at Hugs. I have held many different roles in the childcare/education sector, giving me experience with a variety of children and young people and the problems the face. With the variety of different experiences I have gained, I have found a real passion for all things outdoors, sports based and arty and I enjoy utilising these when working with children. I have lead many alternative art and craft lessons, often bringing the outside in, and really appreciating what the Cornish countryside has to offer. I have helped to create different areas in other settings such as raised beds and even built a traditional roundhouse.

I also have a real passion for horses, having owned them all my life and now living on a farm, I spend a lot of my time outside. I have found that animals of all shapes and sizes can be very exciting for children but they can also offer a calming and understanding experience for children and young people suffering mental ill health.

I am really looking forward to bringing all of my passions together for the different projects that are ongoing here at Hugs and I look forward to making a difference to humans and animals alike.

Hi, I’m Nicki

Mental Health Intervention Support Worker

Hi everyone, I am excited to be part of the growing youth services team, my name is Nicki and I have relocated to Cornwall from the South East of England. I have a degree in Physical Education and my employment background is within the educational sector. I have been fortunate to teach both primary and secondary school children. I initially started my career as a PE teacher and then retrained and specialised as a Primary school teacher.

I love the outdoors and being creative. I also have a passion for all animals especially horses, having been fortunate enough to own my own since a young age. One of my memorable achievements was retraining an ex-racehorse and seeing her transform into a beautiful mare both inside and out. This is the first time working for a charity and I am excited to work with such an amazing team. I am looking forward to working with children and young people in this unique environment and combining all my passions in life.

Our Mission

Kindness. Dignity. Respect. Helping people & animals.

  • To provide a rescue and rehabilitation centre for horses, ponies and other animals that have been abandoned and or abused within the U.K.
  • To provide alternative interventions and support utilising our facilities and animals  for individuals and organisations  focusing on those suffering from mental ill health plus the elderly whose circumstances prevent them from interacting with animals.

Our Story

The Hugs Foundation, was founded on a vision driven by respect, love and compassion for animals. A vision to rehome and rehabilitate ponies and horses that had suffered mistreatment or that needed rescue. 

The experienced team understood, that in order to achieve success, lots of time, energy and funding would be required. Specialist services such as professional veterinary care and yard team would be needed. 

So the vision began from day one with quality care and a realistic view of how Hugs could provide these animals the rehabilitation and care they needed. Ponies and horses were introduced slowly and with compassion. Animals from terrible mistreated backgrounds and harrowing stories of abuse soon found themselves in the loving, caring arms of the The Hugs Foundation. 

As the success stories of these animals being nursed back to full health and rehabilitation started to grow, the love for animals soon found the team taking on other animals from dogs to sheep! What a diverse and colourful mixture our Hugs family has become. The animals bringing such joy and happiness, it was through this concept a new vision was born. 

The love and positive journey could extend to people around us. The animals have therapeutic qualities. Anyone who spends time with animals will tell you how much of a positive influence they can have on ones life. 

The Hugs Foundations brought on board a team of mental health and well-being intervention support workers to extend their positive reach to people. Again, our culture and belief at The Hugs Foundation is to recognise a need and ensure we provide professional expertise to deliver that service. 

Combining the rehabilitation of the animals with their qualities they can bring to people suffering with mental health issues such as depression, PTSD, low confidence and low self esteem meaning our hugs reach so much further. Working in many different ways with 1-2-1 sessions, group therapy, schools and the local community, we can not only change the lives of the animals but also change the lives of people. 

With your help The Hugs Foundation can reach its goal to continue to grow and touch the lives of many. Bringing positive change to the local community and grow to a full centre of rehabilitation. 

Please let us know how The Hugs Foundation can help you. 


Kindness. Dignity. Respect. Helping people & animals.

“We had a lovely visit from a tiny pony here at The Grove. A huge thank you to The Hugs Foundation for bringing Dude in to see all the residents. We all loved him and we are looking forward to the next visit!”

The Grove Residential Care Home 

“Dude gave so much pleasure to our residents and staff alike. Faces lit up when he came in the room. Even our 108 year old resident couldn’t take her eyes off him. We look forward to seeing more of the animals soon.”

Jennifer Nancarrow-Allen, registered Manager at Liskeard Eventide Home 


“I just wanted to say a big thank you to you all for the work you are doing with my daughter Amy. Since Amy has started to attend sessions at Hugs her outlook on life has changed. She used to focus solely on the negative things in her life and had no real enthusiasm for anything but since she met you all she has become more hopeful for her future and she looks forward to leaving the house to come and see you all. You may not think that the little things you do with Amy affect her, but you should all know that they do and it’s thanks to you that Amy is getting better at handling her life with each and every visit. Thank you all so much.”

Feedback from Parent (name has been changed for data protection).

“Hugs is an absolutely amazing place. Beautiful animals rescued from some horrible situations by their compassionate, dedicated staff. We spent three hours meeting and interacting with all the animals and being extremely well looked after by the staff. My little girls fell in love with the very friendly goats and had some amazing experiences like mixing and giving the horse feed, playing with the rescued kittens and cuddling the guinea pigs. They even had their faces painted and were given hot chocolates with marshmallows – they were chuffed to bits and haven’t stopped talking about the experience!

Personally I can be very cynical about the ethics of places that do animal experiences for children as I feel that often the animals suffer. How heart-warming it was to see how different Hugs is – how well the staff know all their animals, how they are constantly assessing their needs (Is that horse happy in that field? Should we keep that pony’s coat on a bit longer? Let’s not groom the horses today as they’re still damp and it would make them itch) plus many other examples of how well all the animals are thought of and cared for.

Go and see the battery hens clucking around the courtyard, the cat will sit on the forms you have to sign because he wants a fuss (you’re lovely, Monty!) and the dogs Fudge and Bailey who just love cuddles!! These previously abandoned/abused/neglected animals not only have their needs met but are understood, respected and adored! As well they should be! Thank you so much to all the staff we met today, you could not have looked after us better and you are all doing an amazing job.”

Kathryn O’Donnell 

As soon as I heard about the awesome impact The Hugs Foundation were making I wanted to be involved. I too am passionate about animal welfare and think its great that the rescue animals also have such positive effects, working with people suffering with poor mental health. Keep up the great work!

Gareth Wright

The fantastic team at the Hugs Foundation do an excellent job caring and rescuing horses and ponies. Its a great inspiration to see the impact they have not only to the lives of the animals but to see the huge and positive benefits the rehabilitated animals have to young people in the community as well as sufferers of mental health issues.

Hannah T

“The Hugs Foundation do such good work, and I feel honoured that I am able to give one of their rescues a home for life. With Gatsby it was love at first sight and he has definitely given me my work/life balance back. We are now entering competitions and have recently come 2nd place in his second show.”



Lisa Lawrence Gatsby’s forever home

“I come to Hugs every Tuesday with children from our school. All of these children have issues of one kind or another. This is a trip they truly look forward too, we often use it as a bargaining tool. I have seen the good work Hugs do and the benefits it has to our children, some of which find engaging with others a very difficult task. I have noticed their growth of confidence. The use of the animals Hugs uses to encourage interaction is wonderful and the patience and understanding of all the staff is above and beyond. The benefits of our visits are obvious in the smiles of our children. Thank you Hugs.”


Donna Brown, Beacon ACE Academy