Yogability Respite & Retreat
A story by Yogability
We provided weekend and overnight health and wellbeing retreats for carers from East Dunbartonshire and Glasgow with the focus on yoga, relaxation and taking time out.
We also provided respite to kids with special needs and their families as well as daily respite for carers via yoga. We provided day retreats for families including carers, kids and adults with special needs and siblings.
What Yogability Respite & Retreat did
Our project, designed as a pilot, was to deliver 2 weekend retreats at locations in Scotland for children with special needs and their carers. We in fact managed to deliver 2 weekend retreats, 1 overnight retreat, 10 weeks of respite for 1 hour per week for 10 adults with special needs and 3 day retreats for families with children with special needs and their carers.
We enlisted the help of 7 volunteers to help us fulfill our respite and retreat days and weekends. We advertised via our organisation through word of mouth, flyers and via social media ensuring everyone who used Yogability services and those looking to get involved were given the opportunity to attend at least one event each.
We informed Carers Link who assist us with identifying carers who could benefit from our services. During our first initial weekend respite at the beautiful Eastwood House in Dunkeld on the banks of the Tay, carers took part in between 4-6 yoga sessions, ranging from physical practice to meditation, yoga nidra (yogic sleep) and breathing workshops, received thirty minutes to an hour's beauty or therapy treatment, took part in walks, communal meals and had time alone when required or someone to talk to when needed.
Our second weekend, which took place at Homelands Trust in Fife involved 6 carers and 3 children who took parts in walks and individual activities of choice, all of whom came together for support, community and friendship but also had their own place to relax and for respite and time out with their families. Our overnight retreat at The Oak Tree in Balmaha involved a 2 hour yoga workshop, meal, overnight stay and a group walk for 7 carers.
Our ten weeks of respite for adults with special needs involved yoga and therapy sessions with qualified yoga instructors and volunteers. Our day retreats included 20 carers, 20 children and their families including siblings. The activities included time out for the carers whilst volunteers and yoga teachers interacted in fun activities involving games, physical activity and yoga. The siblings took part and it gave parents the opportunity to chat or have time alone. The families then came together for group activities and food.
What Yogability has learned
Ultimately, the fund has helped us build an incredibly strong community in a way which we never could have done without funding for retreats and respite. This is huge for us as building a safe space via community is very important to our work. It has helped us attract new volunteers, even from within the carer community!
We took on the project as a pilot and our initial idea of two huge retreats proved at this time, not feasible as large spaces with full disabled access within a certain radius of our area do not exist. It threw us unexpected benefits however as breaking our retreats down to smaller, more manageable projects worked really well and allowed more people to attend.
We realised choice is very good when dealing with carers and their families as many days and weekends are booked with hospital visits and activities. Via word of mouth and social media updates of our events, via Carers Link and other organisations, we have gained 20 new carers to Yogability! We have also grown our waiting list for one to one sessions with children via the overwhelmingly positive experience our carers have had with our respites and retreats.