MELKSHAM-based pet food company Poppy's Picnic is staging a special event for care home residents from Devizes to support Mental Health Awareness Week from May 14-20 and to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation.

It will take place at the Coach House, Sandridge Park, Melksham, on Tuesday, May 15, from 12 noon to 2pm, and will raise awareness of mental health issues and the importance of pets in helping people to overcome anxiety and stress.

The company was featured recently on BBC 2's Dragon's Den and is also a winner of the Business Start-up of the Year in the Wiltshire Business Awards.

In the Dragon’s Den, Poppy’s Picnic’s co-founders, Dylan Watkins and Louise Mackintosh, turned down four investment opportunities, including a £60,000 offer from Deborah Meaden. They have since raised £600,000 in crowdfunding to expand their raw pet food business and take on more staff.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, Poppy’s Picnic is running a competition among its Facebook followers to find out how their pets have changed their lives.

During the special event, residents and staff from Dauntsey House care home in Devizes will have the chance to meet Dylan’s dogs, including Poppy and her daughters, Slipper and Katie, and new arrival Gaby.

The event will also have some therapy dogs from Therapy Dogs Nationwide which are trained to go into care homes to interact with residents.

The people attending will be able to find out how pets can be great stress relievers and can help people get over depression, stress and anxiety.

Mr Watkins said: “We wanted to get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week because depression, anxiety, stress and loneliness can affect any one of us at any time.

“As a pet food company we recognise and actively want to promote how pets can be a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation for their owners. In many ways, pets can help us to live mentally healthier lives.

“We are looking forward to throwing open the doors of our HQ and hosting a live-action Poppy-themed picnic for the residents of the Dauntsey House care home so that they can socialise with the dogs.

“Poppy and her pups, as well as a team from Therapy Dogs Nationwide will be there to interact with our guests and show what a difference our four-legged friends can make.

“Kyle Davies, a leading Chartered Psychologist and creator of Energy Flow Coaching will also be on hand to provide guidance on lifestyle changes that can relieve stress.”

The event will also hear from Mr Davies, the author of The Intelligent Body, who has pioneered ways of treating people with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, stress, anxiety and depression.

Mr Davies said: “We are seeing almost epidemic proportion of people struggling with symptoms of anxiety, depression and other related health challenges, not only in the UK but further afield as well.

“Animals such as dogs are great facilitators; the connection they develop with their owners, coupled with exercise and getting outdoors, offer great benefit and can be a wonderful supplement to therapeutic interventions such as energy-flow coaching."

Mr Davies has presented at workshops, seminars, and conferences in the UK, USA, New Zealand, and Europe; has been a regular contributor to ITV Wales News, and is frequently heard on radio and podcasts.

His book has been given good reviews, including one from the Royal College of General Practice.

To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week, go to