Published Wednesday 8th November 2017

St Michael’s Hospice is celebrating a year-long partnership which has seen dozens of people benefit from a Mindfulness approach.

The partnership with Breathworks has seen St Michael’s run Mindfulness for Health and Mindfulness for Stress courses at the Hospice in Bartestree during the past 12 months.

The relationship was strengthened in September when Breathworks’ co-founder, Vidyamala Burch, led a day-long Masterclass at St Michael’s – the only one of its kind in the UK – attended by more than 50 people who had travelled from across the country.

Catherine Rees attended a Mindfulness for Stress course at St Michael’s earlier this year.

‘From my point of view, one of the key things was the affordability of the course,’ she said.

‘I would definitely recommend it to others.

‘I’ve attended Mindfulness classes before but this was my first experience of Breathworks.

‘It really focuses on the techniques that can help reduce stress, and doing it at the Hospice made it accessible. I subsequently found that it really helped with my anxiety.’

Sona Fricker, Breathworks’ other co-founder, said he is very happy with the way the courses have gone.

‘When I came to visit I just thought St Michael’s would be a wonderful fit,’ he said.

‘I think it has a very special atmosphere.

‘One of our main aims is to get Breathworks out into the community as much as we can, and make it as affordable as possible, and I think there’s been a great synergy of people helping to get these courses going.

‘It shows St Michael’s is a real community asset, helping a strong community of people who have benefitted from Breathworks.’

Gail Calthrop, the Hospice’s Breathworks Mindfulness teacher, says the partnership is a natural union.

‘Breathworks’ approach to Mindfulness is very much to the benefit of all, which chimes with our vision at the Hospice of being a community resource,’ she says.

‘The courses here have been well-attended and highly successful.

‘Around 40 people have completed the four courses, made up of two Mindfulness for Stress and two Mindfulness for Health.’

Feedback has been very good, and many have travelled from across Herefordshire and beyond to attend.

Helen Lee attended a Mindfulness for Health course.

She lives with a neurological condition and follows a lifestyle programme that recommends daily meditation.

‘I was drawn to Breathworks because of its emphasis on living positively with health challenges and the accompanying stresses,’ she said.

‘The course did not disappoint.

‘I enjoy practising mindfulness every day, whether it’s listening to birdsong on a walk with my dog or chopping vegetables to make soup.

‘Gail is a nurturing tutor who created a positive environment for learning: there was no pressure, just acceptance and support. ‘Mindfulness has become a way of living.’

Gail paid thanks to Breathworks’ support, which she says has enabled the courses to bring Mindfulness to people who might otherwise have been unable to benefit from it.

‘We are now getting referrals from pain specialists and other Allied Health Professionals,’ she added.

For more information, contact Gail on 01432 851 000 or visit

The Breathworks website can be found by clicking this sentence