Free Community Yoga Courses
Each year we offer a number of free community yoga courses to charities, social enterprises and some statutory bodies, who become our partner organisations for the duration of the course. Our partner organisations offer the yoga courses to their services users and sometimes also their volunteers and/or staff. They are not open to members of the public directly.
Our community courses are fixed length and consist of weekly or biweekly yoga classes that range from 1 to 2 hours in length. We accept up to 12 participants in each group, however, the maximum numbers might be lower in groups with more specialist needs.
Our mission is to make yoga available to people who would not normally access other yoga services.
We try to offer these courses to organisations who work with individuals who would be unlikely to access existing yoga courses. This could be for a number of reasons, such as, yoga classes being unaffordable, the perception that yoga is not for them, a lack of knowledge about what yoga offers etc. We also expect that the organisation itself does not have the financial means to pay for the course.
We try to work with any organisation who fits the above criteria, although this will also depend on our availability and the level of funding we currently have available for community courses.
In 2016, we offered the courses as pilot programmes without any funding. In 2017, we funded the courses via a crowdfunding campaign and in 2018 we were lucky enough to have a grant from The Lloyds Bank School for Social Entrepreneurs Programme. We haven’t had any funding yet in 2019, but are looking for a corporate sponsor to help.
Some have been very successful and others less so. We keep evaluating our courses as we go and have refined our offering quite a lot from its original form. We have learnt a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Some questions remain – how can we best help people to value something which is given freely? How can we support vulnerable people to make a commitment to themselves and stick with a weekly course?
We define a successful course as one with high attendance rates, in which we receive positive feedback and where the participants demonstrate learning and progress and of course, enjoyment!
A key factor in creating success is having the ongoing support of the partner organisation. The partner organisation is best placed to be responsible for encouraging participants to attend the class regularly.
We have also found that it helps if at least 1 or 2 members of staff or volunteers from the partner organisation participate in the class alongside the service users.
We have discovered that the least successful courses have resulted when one person working for the partner organisation thought that a free yoga course for the service users sounded like a great idea, but hadn’t checked to see whether many of their service users would be likely to take up the offer.
Another issue is where the partner organisation hasn’t assigned a point of contact to liaise with us. This tends to mean that no one within the partner organisation is championing the course.
We have not had any funding for our 2019 courses. Please contact us if you would like to consider becoming a corporate sponsor.
We ran a 4-week course for the Recovery College in July/August 2019. Leicestershire The Recovery College is an NHS college offering a range of recovery-focused educational courses and resources for people with lived mental health experience, along with their friends, family and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust staff.
Our 2018 courses were generously funded by The Lloyds Bank School for Social Entrepreneurs Programme. Thank you!
We ran a 4-week course for the Recovery College Leicestershire in September/October 2018. The Recovery College is an NHS college offering a range of recovery-focused educational courses and resources for people with lived mental health experience, along with their friends, family and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust staff.
For the second year running we ran a summer course for the After 18 women’s group. After 18 provide support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people in Leicester.
We taught a biweekly class at the Agnes Unit over the course of 3 months. The Agnes Unit is an inpatient service for adults with learning disabilities. The unit provides an inpatient service for individuals whose mental health, behaviour and risk cannot be supported in the community.
We taught an 8-week course as part of the Active Leicester project. B-Inspired are working to improve the community of Braunstone for the better.
LASS/Well for Living
We ran 8 yoga classes as part of a series of well-being days organised by LASS/Well for Living. These were chair yoga classes and made available to elderly people, people with restricted mobility and a number of people with learning disabilities. LASS offers support services for people affected by HIV and Aids.
Our 2017 courses were funded by the generous support of crowdfunders. Thank you!
We taught an 8-week course for PWB, a City of Sanctuary initiative that provides support to LGBT asylum seekers in the city.
Our first summer course for the After 18 women’s group. After 18 provide support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people in Leicester.
We originally partnered with Home Group to provide a course for ex-offenders and those with a dual diagnosis. Unfortunately, after a number of sessions, Home Group had to pull out of the course for staffing reasons. So, the course continued with the support of LASS.
Our first year community classes were pilot programmes and not, therefore, funded.
We ran an 8-week pilot course for LASS, who provide support to people affected by HIV and Aids. The course was attended by service users, volunteers and staff and was so successful that LASS asked us to continue teaching from their space. We are delighted that we have been able to work with them and teach out of their beautiful space ever since.
We ran a 12-week pilot course for Project Polska, who help Eastern European migrants to adjust to their new life in the UK. This was our very first course and also included a series of 4 workshops in addition to the physical yoga classes. We are thankful to have had this opportunity as it gave us so much valuable feedback.