Aquarium opens to improve children's mental health in Wolverhampton

An aquarium and sensory activity centre aimed at improving the mental health of youngsters has launched in Wolverhampton.

Harley Dixon, aged five, looks at the goldfish.
Harley Dixon, aged five, looks at the goldfish.

HugglePets in the Community, based at the store in Cooper Street, opened the "therapeutic" areas after raising more than £96,000.

A total of 72 backers from the Crowdfund Wolves scheme, which helps gets ideas off the ground, donated – including more than £7,500 given from Wolverhampton Council.

Five-year-old Harley Dixon and staff member Hannah Dixon look at the goldfish.

Hannah Dixon, community project manager for HugglePets, said: "We are thrilled to be able to deliver this project for the community, this new facility will allow us to expand our activities in animal-related therapies for those that want to look after their mental health and that of their children."

The project will aim to benefit children and adults who live with stress and anxiety, depression loneliness and visual impairment.

The Community Aquarium will be open seven days a week to people and families, with the sensory activity centre based on bookings and availability.

Harley Dixon, aged five, looks at the goldfish.

Councillor Ian Brookfield, leader of Wolverhampton Council, said: "It was an honour to officially open this fantastic facility that will make such a huge difference to children and families across Wolverhampton.

"HugglePets in the Community should be congratulated for their vision and drive in delivering this and I’d also like to say a big thank you to the Crowdfund backers that made this wonderful project happen.

"It shows what a powerful platform Crowdfund Wolves is – helping connect people, ideas and support to enable city residents to turn ideas into reality and shape City of Wolverhampton’s future.

HugglePets director Mike Dixon and Ian Dixon with council leader Ian Brookfield (centre)

"These projects are also providing valuable support to families across the city and helping them thrive."

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