Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

‘Breathing Space’ at Abbotswick

Our News in Brief

‘Breathing Space’ at Abbotswick

29th May 2012

On Wednesday 16th May 2012, a group of 14 staff and residents stayed at Abbotswick, a beautiful country house in Brentwood Essex, as a 3 day spiritual retreat. It was the fourth time such a trip has been organised, and this time the residents were joined by the Director, and two Lifestyle Architects.

During the three days the Anchor House residents took part in the ‘Breathing Space’ programme designed to give them the opportunity to confront and begin to overcome some of their deepest concerns and fears in an atmosphere of trust, openness, tranquillity and understanding.

The feedback from residents is universally positive, as you can see below.


My experience at Abbotswick has given me a chance to reflect on myself and put realistic goals into perspective. Abbotswick is in a beautiful location with lots of land so you are able to roam the grounds and really clear your head. That, in combination with the meetings, has made for a pleasurable experience. Not to mention the excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner menu! Thanks for the opportunity.


Abbotswick is all about peace and tranquillity and getting to know yourself and your peers. Leave your troubles at the door and when you leave they may not be as fearful as you first thought and may well disappear completely. Abbotswick is all about opening your mind to new ideas and knowing that you are worth it. Abbotswick is a feast for your mind, body and soul. Abbotswick is a great eye-opener.


The birds are singing whilst the clouds are out

Such solemn and relaxation with not a single doubt

Woke up today feeling fresh and fine

But we all know that I just want to taste Keith’s wine

Going to breakfast to sit with my pals

Who would have thought they’re such a nice crowd

So many characters with their own points of view

Hope I can get to know each one of you.


I am a fairly new resident to Anchor House so going to Abbotswick with 14 people I didn’t really know wasn’t at the top of my list of things to do, but I am so glad I went. I had an opportunity to meet other residents and go on walks through the woods and just get away from it all. I now see these people as friends and not just other residents.

In the past, I have been abroad on holiday to Barbados but, believe it or not, three days at Abbotswick was more relaxing. We were looked after to a very high standard and I would go back again and again if given the opportunity. Thank you very much.


I want to change the way I flex

So I’m taking a lil sec

We call it search and reflect

Because I need to upgrade my spec

I’m like a horse trapped in a stable

I have the power of motion but right now I aint able

Feeling like a thorough bred with arthritis in the ankles

I’m meant to run free so let run without saddles

I used to be a trophy sitting on a mantel

Adorned I was now I long for a cuddle


My few days away were very calming at Abbotswick. The nuns were nice and the brown envelope crew got on very well so I felt relaxed.

The day before we went to Abbotswick I de-cluttered my room so when I got back it would be my head that needs to be de-cluttered.

It was lovely to hear not only the residents of Anchor House opening us, but also the staff.

Thank you Anchor House.


It’s not long enough. I enjoyed the whole experience.

Share this page