The End and The Beginning
Hi once again,
And so it ends - and what a wonderful journey it has been. As Angela and I sit here collating the final outcome statistics and learner comments, we genuinely feel humbled by the whole experience.
Ten months has produced so much; classes which total over a hundred learners a week, two newspaper articles featuring our story, so many wonderful new NIACEdefinition friends and best of all, learners who report that their lives have been literally turned around by Mindfulness.
But we also get the feeling of a new beginning.
As a result of this project, we have now made new links and re-inforced old ones with various partners within the community. For example, links with general practitioners, NHSdefinition recovery teams, York Carers, York Mind, Job Centre Plus and many, many more.
These partners now refer learners to us who need Mindfulness to help with their various mental health difficulties that cannot be met swiftly through the NHS. We are achieving equality objectives because they cannot afford private psychiatric interventions, but are genuinely being turned around through the powers of Mindfulness and also, interaction with like-minded people.
Our courses are sustainabile. For example, York Learning has recognised the success and continues to support our efforts, we are developing a structure whereby courses for working/more affluent learners can fund the free classes for others and we now have ex-learners running support groups on a weekly, voluntary basis.
This brings us back to why we feel this is just at the 'beginning' - there is still so much to do. Over the summer we are looking to expand the 'Start Living' brand not only to ensure it remains sustainable, but to offer wider services such as weekend retreats and working with local businesses and schools.
Mindfulness is very en vogue at the moment, not as a passing fad, but because neuroscienctific breakthroughs have proved the practice works and works well. This combined with the unprecedented levels of stress we appear to be experiencing as a modern society, means Mindfulness is here to stay.
Hopefully our work will therefore continue; we would like to spread the message beyond York and also work with other groups who might benefit - such as people with physical disabilities, people who are blind or partially sighted and perhaps people with autistim. One of the real joys of teaching Mindfulness is that it truly can benefit everyone, often significantly, sometimes profoundly.
So a big thank you to the Skills Funding Agency and the EDIFdefinition team for making this possible. We will sign off with a comment from one of our learners:
“Thank you so much, you have changed my life for the better, you truly have.”
As we say, it has been a wonderful journey and we hope to see many of you again soon.
Mark and Angela