Space to Breathe

Lockdown Update: Space to Breathe

It’s been a mad few weeks. Our daily lives have changed, we miss seeing the friendly faces behind our favourite independents. We are sure you do too, so we thought we’d check in.

Not only have they had to adapt their own lifestyle to the new normal, their business has had to change too.

We caught up with Andy Freeman who runs Space to Breathe, a CIC supporting wellbeing and mental health in creative ways – using the arts, non-religious spirituality and positive psychology to start conversations around mental health and then see what happens.

What was your initial reaction to lockdown?

We knew it was coming but it still came as a shock.  We do lots of work face to face creating spaces to support wellbeing, suddenly we couldn’t do this.  We also work a lot with teachers, suddenly we were seeing schools close. We anticipate the whole thing has cost us about £20K of work.  

How has your business changed over the past few weeks?

We’ve now sought to change ourselves into work digitally and also to be generous with what we are doing.  Our wellbeing experiences can now be joined in with via Zoom.  We are also offering free mental health first aid, free support to people and building communities to support the business community.

How do you see the long-tern impact on small businesses?

It’s very hard to say.  We are concerned that a lot of the support has been organised programmatically, without really understanding the complexity of being self-employed or being a small business.  We are also worried about the mental health impact of everything that is going on.  So many people have talked to us about the anxiety, stress and sense of loss they are experiencing.  That implication will ripple on for a while.

What has been your daily coping strategy in these crazy times?

Because we work in wellbeing it’s important we practice what we are talking about.  So I’ve been working hard to create space to refuel, to eat well and sleep well and to develop healthy rhythms of working at home.  Lastly I am keen to make sure despite worries that i keep being generous and keep reaching out to local community.  Other people are vital to helping me to be me.

Stay up to date in lockdown with our Coronavirus Directory.


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