About Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre C.I.C.

The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre C.I.C. was set up in 2007 by the Co-Director's, John Trimble and Julie Milsom.

Their aim was to establish a farm-based day care provision catering for people with additional needs that would offer access to a range of activities in the countryside in a safe and supported setting.

Having been involved in land based education for over 25 years, Julie in Animal Management and John in Horticulture, they had seen at first hand the positive changes that occurred in people when they were around animals or out in the natural environment. However, they became increasingly frustrated working within a system that was qualification led and funding driven thereby excluding anyone for whom a qualification was unachievable or inappropriate.

This led to the vision that was to become The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre and after two years of extensive research and planning the Centre finally welcomed its first clients in the spring of 2007.

Since then the Centre has evolved organically and responsively to the input of the community, staff, volunteers and commissioners - directly contributing to the specialist provision, facilities and diverse range of activities now on offer.

Run as a not-for-profit organisation since its inception, The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre officially became a Community Interest Company registered with Companies House in 2009. The Centre was proud to be awarded the ‘Social Enterprise Mark’ in May 2010 in recognition of its ethos and values in ‘Trading for People and Planet’.

Now open 50 weeks a year and with a small but skilled and dedicated team of staff and a strong volunteer base the centre welcomes upwards of 55 people a week from across the counties of Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire.

Commissioners of the specialist provision at The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre include Primary Care Trusts, Social Services, Residential Care Homes, Private Hospitals, other Day Care Providers and individuals with personalised budgets.

The Centre offers a flexible person centred approach tailored to meet each individuals needs or requirements and current attendance varies from half an hour once a week to four days per week.

The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre invites interested parties to contact them directly to discuss their requirements and arrange a visit to see at first hand what the Centre has to offer.

Our ethos - 'Enthuse, enable, empower'

Central to the projects core is the key objective of 'access for all' and The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre prides itself on its inclusive approach, welcoming people from all backgrounds and with a range of skills, needs and abilities.

People's differences are embraced and their input valued with the emphasis in activities not on an 'end result' but on sensory involvement and the experiential learning process.

The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre works alongside clients, their families, support staff, care providers and health care professionals in an integrated approach to provision.

Structured activities in a safe and supported setting are designed to address peoples specific physical, mental and emotional needs, to develop transferable life skills and to find long term solutions in a pro-active rather than reactive approach – 'enthuse, enable, empower'.


The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre recognises and values people as individuals and has a pro-active approach to engaging people in the activities of their choice. Staff actively encourage and support people to face new challenges with a flexible and adaptable approach to tasks.


The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre offers a diverse range of activities and uses innovative approaches to enable everyone to have 'hands-on' involvement.

Specialist equipment has been designed and supplied by REMAP Hereford Group to enable wheelchair users and persons with a mobility need to have greater involvement in activities such as feeding and handling the small animals.


The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre celebrates and values each persons input into activities helping to promote confidence and self esteem. Activities are designed to help give people problem solving and transferable life skills helping to promote independence and support personal growth

With their permission each person has an individual photographic record of their involvement at the Centre and this can be shared with family and friends or used as an invaluable record of achievement in planning future sessions or for care reviews.

Facilities at the Centre

  • Heated indoor work room with kitchen area.
  • Fully wheelchair accessible toilet facilities, including 'Changing Places' facility with hoist and adjustable changing stretcher.
  • Indoor animal barn with a comprehensive range of small animals.
  • Outdoor animal housing and paddocks.
  • Wheelchair accessible yard and covered area for equine work.
  • Organic vegetable garden with polytunnel.
  • Enclosed 'community garden' with picnic area.
  • Workshop.
  • Woodland.
  • Wheelchair access to all main areas.

Facilities at Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre

Additional projects

Wildlife and Conservation

  • Wild bird feeding station
  • Care for 'rescued wildlife'
  • Art and craft activities such as glass painting, card making and collage
  • Cookery designed to promote the importance of good nutrition and healthy eating making communal meals utilising produce from the organic vegetable garden

The 'Wheels to the Woods' project

The vision of the 'Wheels to the Woods' project is to create wheelchair access into an area of unspoilt woodland. Click here for more details.


The Barton Hill Centre is the trading name for
The Barton Hill Animal Assisted Therapy Centre Community Interest Company

Registered in England and Wales
– Company No. 7032114
– Registered Office as in contact details.

Directors: John Trimble & Julie Milsom