Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Residents reflect at countryside mindfulness retreat

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Residents reflect at countryside mindfulness retreat

9th June 2017
Taking time to reflect and find peace in the countryside has been a life changing experience for eight homeless residents living at Caritas Anchor House.

The group stayed at a country house set in the beautiful grounds of Abbotswick in Essex at the end of May, as part of a three day mindfulness retreat with two Lifestyle Architects.

The retreat aims to provide our residents with a safe space for relaxation and personal reflection, away from busy inner London, in an environment which is green, tranquil and quiet. Residents took part in many activities which encouraged them to build trust and friendships, such as group discussions, country walks, film nights and capoeira classes.

They also practised mindfulness, a mind-body based training that helps people to change the way they think and feel about their experiences, using techniques such as yoga, meditation and breathing.

Jamie has lived at Caritas Anchor House for six months, and shared that the retreat had helped him and others to ‘let go and rest’. He said, “I felt free and confident at Abbotswick, and it was great to see the other residents come out of their shells too. We built friendships and became comfortable in sharing our thoughts and vulnerabilities. Since being back we’ve been planning day trips, like the beach, and I for one definitely feel more engaged and want to make the most of the support on offer to make changes to my life. Caritas Anchor House has given me hope for the future, and if any similar opportunities come up I will jump at them.”

Linda Maytum-Wilson, Acting Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House said, “Our regular retreats to Abbotswick offer a calm environment for residents to take stock of where they are in their lives, any challenges they have and are yet to overcome, and what they would like to achieve going forward.

The activities also encourage residents to pay attention to their mental health and wellbeing, as they overcome homelessness and build resilience. It’s vitally important that we at Caritas Anchor House support and empower any of our residents experiencing a mental health problem or other complex need including substance misuse or offending. 45% of our residents state that they require additional specialist support in these areas, and Abbotswick is a great opportunity to diversify our support in a different and calming environment.”

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