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Get to know the dedicated board members and passionate staff behind A Mindful Paws. We come from all walks of life and are united in our passion to make a difference and lasting change in the lives of those in need in the Huntingdon area. Our team is made up of highly trained experts in a variety of fields. Read on to learn more about who we are and what we do.

Meet the Team: Meet the Team



Hi, my name is Jo, and I am co-founder of A Mindful Paws charity.
I have worked with children and families in various roles for over 20 years. My career path has naturally moved towards working in mental health, so in 2017 I started mental health nurse training. I qualified and registered as a nurse in 2020.  I now work for the NHS in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.
For the past 19 years, I have also developed my interest and practice in meditation and mindfulness. This has been of enormous benefit to my mental well-being and has become my foundation for coping with the stresses that life brings. As a result, I have completed training to teach children and young people the skills of meditation and mindfulness with the hope that they can benefit from this practice, too. 
I believe strongly that mental health support should be easily accessible to all young people. My role in A Mindful Paws is to offer evidence-based therapies that include mindfulness training. I believe that all young people can build their own foundation of skills that they can use to develop resilience and cope positively with the challenges that life inevitably brings to us.


Founder & Chief Executive

My name is Carrie Bates, and I am one of the founders of A Mindful Paws.

I have over 25 years of experience as a mental health nurse in CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) in both in-patient and community settings. I started working with dogs over 10 years ago and am a qualified dog trainer and behaviourist and a member of IMDT & IMDTB (Institute of Modern Dog Trainers & Behaviourists) and ISCP (International School for Canine Psychology). I also have a diploma in AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) and have been providing AAT to young people for the last 8 years and am a member of SCAS (Society for Companion Animal Studies).

The welfare of young people and dogs is at the heart of all the work I do. I am fortunate to have had two beautiful dogs that love helping me work with young people and have the right temperament for this. I love seeing how they help the young people engage in therapy, particularly if they have found the more traditional approaches a poor fit for them.



Therapy Dog

This is Leo, a key founding member of A Mindful Paws. He worked with many young people over eight years and really enjoyed helping them.

He introduced Barnaby to the work and showed him how to be calm and sensitive with the young people.

Very sadly, we had to say goodbye to Leo on August 25th 2003. We honour him by continuing the work he started.


Therapy Dog

My name is Barnaby, and I am 4 years old and really loved working with Leo and my mum Carrie. I love it! I love meeting new people and enjoy cuddles. Leo was my hero, I looked up to and learned from him. I miss him very much but enjoy continuing the work he started.
I am always jolly, smiling and loving life!
I look forward to meeting and helping lots of young people. I want everyone to be as happy as me.

Meet the Team: Welcome




Support Worker

My name is Claire Preston. I have over 15 years experience of working with young people through one-to-one work or within a group setting. I offer a listening ear, support and guidance when and where needed to support young people to be the best versions of themselves to go on to achieve their goals.
My qualifications include NCFE Level 2 certificate in counselling skills and a CPCAB Level 3 certificate in counselling studies.

Meet the Team: Team Members




 Trustee - Secretary

Linsey brings over 17 years experience of working with young people, beginning her career in 2002 as a Teaching Assistant in a secondary school. In 2004 she moved into an information and advisory role with young people aged 16 plus, specialising in employment, education and training.

Linsey is passionate about helping to improve the lives and well being of young people and alongside this is a huge animal lover ( particularly dogs).




Natalie's background is in educational settings. Qualifying as a teacher in 2010, she brings 10 years of experience working with young people aged 11-18. 
Natalie is passionate about mental health and the well-being of young people. She fully supports therapy programmes outside of the school environment that lead to the enhancement in young people's social, emotional and mental health.




My name is Lynne Knapp I am 79 years young.  Life in my day was totally different we all had our 'jobs', mine was walking the dog followed by a paper round before I went to School which was quite a way from our house, cars were non existent in a normal household.  Ice on the inside of the windows in the winter, getting dressed and washed in the kitchen with the oven on and door open.  

We all had Saturday jobs, mine were Toy Shop Saturday and as you were not allowed to sell them Sundays switched to the sweet and cigarette side.

I went to Pitman's College at 14 on a business course and started work as a junior shorthand typist at 16 earning £5 per week which was good money. I subsequently worked in London as a Legal Secretary.

Married at 19 had 2 children divorced 7 years later.

Spent 20 years working for a public company in charge of Credit Control and legal matters. 

 Retired at 63, 6 months later the last of my dogs died so turned to puppy walking for Guide dogs which is how I met Carrie.  Ten dogs and 12 years later I retired from Guide Dogs too upsetting having had to keep them  for too long.

I switched to Medical Detection pups which you kept for 8 months, the initial training is what I like and the fact that being a smaller charity I know where they all are and can still follow their progress.

Along came Covid no more pups, that's where Carrie came in again and kept me sane walking with Leo and Barnaby. 

Too old to get a dog from Wood Green etc, could not afford thousands for a Labrador so bought one from a rescue in Rumania.  Pet passport full health report and all vaccinations who arrived in a crate outside my door at 5 months old, he is now 28 months old.

A dog keeps me sane, there is no way I would walk every day without him, people talk to me, he is someone to say goodnight and good morning to and he loves me.  I am lucky enough to have a good family but they don't need me like they used to, they are all grown up and have their own lives.  My dog gives me another  purpose in life and we all need that.

Meet the Team: Team Members
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