Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Abbotswick’ Resounding Success

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Abbotswick’ Resounding Success

25th May 2011

A party of 10 residents and 2 staff,  myself and director Keith Fernett, left Anchor House on Wednesday 18th May for a 3 day spiritual retreat at Abbotswick, a country house set in beautiful grounds in the Essex countryside.

Last year was the first year that we introduced people to our ‘Breathing Space’ programme at Abbotswick and it was the successful outcome of last year’s visit, with people feeling empowered and enthused,  that led us to want to offer the same opportunities again for people at Anchor House in 2011.

The group this year were quiet and thoughtful but like last year’s group they were only passing acquaintances  in Anchor House and had little in common with each other. But once again, these differences did not act as a barrier, in fact quite the opposite.

We witnessed in many of the sessions how the group having gained confidence and trust with each other were prepared and brave enough to show their vulnerability with a view to consider different ways of thinking.

“This trip has helped me to make new friends, speak to other Anchor House residents, build my confidence and it has enabled me to make decisions about my life”, resident Salem said.

Many of the sessions were designed to challenge the group and because of their courage in being honest, open and candid we learnt things about each other that we did not know before.

The information gleamed was quite amazing. Within the group we discovered artists, comedians and highly qualified individuals.

It is hoped that these skills can be utilised to benefit not only the individual but many more of the residents in Anchor House over the coming weeks and months.

The common link that unites us all is that there will be times  in our lives when we are vulnerable, fragile and afraid and as individuals we deal with such challenges differently, but at Abbotswick we confronted some of our worst fears together and examined ways of moving forward.

“I think this could be a benchmark to new beginnings”, resident Nigel said. “Destiny will lead me to the path, but the rest is up to me”.


Eve O’Keefe

Personal Development Co-ordinator

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