Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Anchor House Residents visit Abbotswick for “Breathing Space”

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Anchor House Residents visit Abbotswick for “Breathing Space”

9th July 2010

Abbotswick is a large, welcoming, residential premises in Brentwood set in 14 acres of beautiful grounds providing a warm caring atmosphere perfect for any spiritual retreat for people of all ages, walks of life and church denominations.  With Sister Camilla and Sister Gabriella co-ordinating activities the place is maintained by a small army of keen, enthusiastic volunteers who do everything from office administration, mechanical maintenance to gardening.

Last week, eleven residents from Anchor House and three members of staff visited for a 3-day break. A programme was designed to enable each individual to be given time to reflect, to think about their lives and to help them look at things differently.   All that was asked of them was to respect their surroundings, respect the other people in the house, respect themselves, and to participate in the sessions.

It appeared that many of the group had little in common and were passing acquaintances in Anchor House. However, these differences did not act as barriers - in fact quite the opposite. Their differences became topics of conversation and they began to see qualities in each other that had always been there but had gone unrecognized, and we witnessed bonds of friendship developing. There was an openness and trust amongst the group and a willingness to embrace new ways of thinking and doing things.

Sometimes you cannot quantify a feeling or experience and capture it on paper – it is indefinable and that’s what appeared to be happening within the group in some of the sessions. We hope that over the coming weeks the group, through their shared experiences, will have the confidence to make any necessary changes that could enhance and enrich their lives.

As a staff group we should feel very proud of our ambassadors who represented Anchor House, as I know that through their exemplary behavior they have left a lasting impression on the Sisters of Abbotswick.

Tara, one of our residents, said of the trip "I experienced so much in such a short period of time, and I hope to keep with me what I have learnt and gained at Abbotswick"


Eve O’Keefe, Course Co-ordinator

The group taking part in a Relaxation Session, led by Eve O'Keefe.

The group taking part in a Relaxation Session, led by Eve O'Keefe.

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