Our Anniversary Newsletter
Welcome to Rising Minds' 10th anniversary newsletter!
We hope you enjoy this brief round-up of our achievements, past and present, plus (obviously, we are coaches!) our plans for the future.
Our vision at Rising Minds is to make life-changing mindfulness and coaching services available to people who can’t usually access them. We’re fortunate to have a highly skilled and experienced team of associate coaches and trainers to do this, alongside our pioneering Director, Tim Segaller, who wrote and delivered the very first coaching and mindfulness programme back in 2013. Tim was joined on the Rising Minds Board in 2022 by three Non-Executive Directors – Juliet Ellis, Ann-Mari Freebairn and Louise Hatch - who bring a wealth of experience from the public, private and third sectors.
We are also proud to have recently relaunched our Rising Minds Foundation Committee, whose members include alumni of our programmes. It’s their job to keep us all on track – which they do with boundless energy and enthusiasm! More on this below.
Since that first programme in 2013, we’ve helped more than 600 people who felt ‘stuck’ or held back by disadvantage to develop
greater wellbeing and get their lives back on track. And we’ve supported many social purpose organisations – in local government, the NHS, housing associations and the third sector – to boost their teams’ resilience, leadership and effectiveness.
Our past achievements include:
This Way Up: our flagship social project, funded by the anti-poverty charity Quaker Social Action (QSA). We celebrated This Way Up’s 10th anniversary with a fantastic event in March – see below for more info;
This Way Next: a ‘next steps’ programme for people who have completed initial life coaching and mindfulness training with Rising Minds;
Open Book: We provided coaching and training to students and staff for this pioneering project at Goldsmiths University which supports people from disadvantaged backgrounds to take up higher education;
Mini-mindfulness course: In February/March 2021, as Covid-19 and lockdowns continued to disrupt ‘normal’ life, we ran a free and open to all, Zoom course on ‘Mindfulness for Wellbeing & Resilience During Challenging Times’;
Monthly Drop-in Workshops for TWU ‘graduates’: We also ran a trial of a new monthly drop-in during this time, with sessions designed to help people gain new tips on applying mindfulness to daily life. The success of this initiative led to our new peer-led drop-in service – more below;
Specialist Course for Men: In September-October 2021, we ran a special three-session mindfulness-based resilience course on Zoom for people identifying as men;
Working for Carers Programme: a mindfulness-based wellbeing and resilience course for carers to move closer to employment;
Bursaries: we have provided bursaries for life coaching for those on low incomes, funded by donations to our Rising Minds Foundation.
Current programmes, including spotlight on This Way Up
The starting point of our original flagship programme, This Way Up, is the belief that every human being has the potential to move from merely surviving to actively thriving, but that past challenges and current circumstances often get in the way of this potential being fully activated.
Through its unique combination of mindfulness and coaching, the programme supports people to find their own resources for taking control of their lives and moving towards their goals, such as getting into work, training or education, taking up new activities or making new friendships. Essentially, it’s about feeling good in yourself and, from there, making your life work well for you.
We are not aware of any other project that combines coaching and mindfulness in the same
way, and we know that this approach works: we use the World Health Organisation’s
‘Wellbeing Index’ to measure progress, with average scores for participants increasing from
8.9 out of 25 at the beginning of the programme (considered in healthcare as mild/moderate
depression) to 14.8 out of 25 at the end (considered good mental health, and at least in line
with, or even above, national averages).
This Way Up is still being delivered to this day, and we held a very special event at St Ethelburga's Centre on 9th March to celebrate the programme’s 10-year anniversary. The event included talks by our Director Tim and QSA Director Judith Moran; a series of moving interviews with past participants about their experience of the programme and the changes they made to their lives; a guided meditation; an interactive coaching exercise, plus networking and getting to know each other. Read more here about 10 years of This Way Up.
* Names and photos changed to protect privacy
As well as This Way Up and This Way Next, we’re currently running the following activities:
- Peer-led regular drop-in: we’re co-designing a participant-led regular drop-in service, open to past This Way Up participants. This will include training in group facilitation skills, so that the alumni team will eventually
run these sessions themselves, with Rising Minds’ supervision and support. The
sessions will give people the chance to refresh and maintain their mindfulness-based
resilience skills, whilst creating a sense of community, support and encouragement;
- East London Cares: regular Wellbeing Sessions which bring older and younger
people together to do interesting and fun activities;
- Rosetta Arts: a pilot mindful arts pack to be posted to 500 Newham residents,
giving them simple tools and techniques from mindfulness to start to unleash their
- Holistic Optimism Purpose and Empowerment (HOPE): a pilot coaching programme for women aged 35+ who are in, or at risk of entering, the criminal justice system;
- Royal College of Midwives Scotland: training their workplace reps in coaching and facilitation skills.
Rising Minds Foundation Committee: we’ve been busy further developing our Committee, which is tasked with providing critical input and feedback around the design and delivery of all our social projects. The Committee includes alumni of Rising Minds’ programmes, who were referred to us due to the impact of poor mental health. Currently there are four Committee members, who are working on Rising Minds’ policies, including the Code of Conduct, to ensure they are inclusive and accessible to all in the organisation.
So, what about the future for Rising Minds? Our main focus now is developing our new programme, ‘The Inside Track’ - an innovative programme to support the resilience, leadership and creativity of both people in the community facing multiple disadvantage and the organisations serving them. We work with social purpose organisations driven by a mission to create social impact and positive change, such as charities, social enterprises and housing associations. The programme has three core phases:
Our ambition with 'The Inside Track' is not only to support individuals, but also to break down barriers and foster meaningful connection and engagement between those individuals and the people who support them. In this way, we hope to cultivate the extraordinary insights that can arise when people from diverse backgrounds come together, as well as make a real long-term impact in improving how social purpose organisations serve their communities.
In addition to this exciting addition to our programme offers, we are also working on:
- increasing our commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion by encouraging more applications for our programmes from men and young people aged 18-24 years;
- continuing to grow the Rising Minds’ Foundation Committee;
raising funds to deliver more programmes like This Way Up to more people who need them;
- developing other programmes for social purpose organisations.
If you can help with any of the above, or have any other ideas or suggestions for Rising Minds, please do contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you enjoyed this newsletter.
Thank you for reading, and for giving your support to Rising Minds over the past 10 years - we really appreciate it.
99% of participants say our programme was either ‘very helpful’ (71%) or ‘helpful’ (28%)
After completing the programme:
67% reported an improvement in their mental health;
57% reported better relationships; and
51% reported increased confidence.
Sahesh had a particularly “bad year” while facing anxiety and depression. Although he tried a number of avenues to change his life, it was only when he found This Way Up that he felt he was moving forward: “I never knew about meditation and had never done it, it really helped me. Anything that was going through my mind I almost felt like I could clear it off by basically meditating, so instead of letting my mind wander all the time, just be at the present.” He also found the life-coaching sessions helpful: “It was really amazing, because then you can talk with someone more. With the group it’s safe, but I think when you do it one-to-one you can go more in depth… you feel more comfortable because you can talk about anything you want really.”
Since completing the course, Sahesh feels more “relaxed and calm.” He was inspired to volunteer to help facilitate the mindfulness group, helping teach others the tools he has learned.
After a difficult relationship breakdown, Farah arrived in London having to start again. She had to create a new life for herself, reconnecting with distant family members, finding a new home and getting a job. Her confidence was rock bottom.
“I was at the point of wondering if I was ever going to be able to work again. This Way Up gave me the realisation that yes, I can take that next step. A lot of things had happened to me where I really wasn’t feeling very good in myself. I didn’t think I could achieve anything like going back to work again. That affected my quality of life – I was very worried about my finances. Through the course, I learnt to manage my emotions and gain my confidence. After a while I was ready to go for job interviews. I had a coaching and mindfulness session an hour before a job interview. It calmed my nerves; I could manage my reactions and emotions and I felt grounded. The interview was very positive, and I was offered the job"
Part 3 – Ongoing peer support and skills refresh
Ongoing support for programme graduates to keep rolling out the benefits of The Inside Track.
Part 2 – Train the Trainer programme
Ensuring a long legacy by training ‘graduates’ of part 1 to run further ‘Inside Track’ programmes in their organisations and communities.
Part 1 – The Inside Track training programme
Live group sessions + 1-1 coaching, following this simple pathway:
1. Lead yourself: Improve resilience through mindfulness; manage stress; think clearly
2. Know thyself: Foster deep appreciation of your true values, strengths, and motivators
3. Strong relationships: Cultivate emotional intelligence; leadership and people skills
4. Action: Develop action plans that move people towards their goals in life and at work
QUOTES FROM OUR PROGRAMME PARTICIPANTS
“Life coaching was just brilliant. I can’t think of anything worse than going through life thinking that you did not fulfil your potential. It was like doing a jigsaw puzzle. I had all the pieces of my life to put together, but I did not have the picture on the box.”
“Before I could sit and watch TV all day and not do anything – I was really unmotivated. But the mindfulness somehow unlocked something.”
“The difference from anything else out there is the pairing of mindfulness with life-coaching. They really should go hand in hand. The life coaching gives you the chance to work out what to concentrate on and work further on what you’ve deemed necessary through the mindfulness sessions.”