Author: admin

Date: August 18, 2023

Category: News

Reading time: 7.3 mins

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Author: admin

Date: August 18, 2023

Category: News

Reading time: 7.3 mins

Share Post:
The last twelve months has seen us grow as a team, and in the provision of our services. We are delighted to summarise our work and its impacts, in this official end of Year Report.

Our Delivery and Impact:

In 2022-2023 we delivered over 900 yoga sessions with Additional Needs and Community Groups.

We tailor our delivery to work with four key groups across Kirklees:

1. Community Groups

This group includes those communities who identify as long-covid sufferers, asylum seekers, people with sensory impairments such as partial sightedness or blindness, as well as any local resident in Kirklees.

These are our ‘open-to-all’ sessions which you’ll see advertised on our ,website.

We try to make the process of joining these sessions as accessible as possible, with a short health questionnaire being the only requirement for participants to complete before joining.

We have partnered with TSL Kirklees, and local authorities, community centres, and third sector organisations and we have provided sessions across 15 wards, where we can have the most impact.

2. Learning Disabilities Groups

We work with adults and young adults with a range of learning disabilities including autism.

We’re able to deliver these sessions alongside partnership organisations such as ,Waves and ,Mencap whose dedicated staff often join the sessions to support participants.

3. Older Adults and Dementia Friendly Groups

These groups include people living with early onset dementia, and partners such as ,Age UK and the ,Young Onset Dementia Group.

4. Trauma Survivors

Our work with these groups includes supporting survivors of abuse and domestic violence in partnership with some wonderful organisations including ,KRASAC (Kirklees, Calderdale & Wakefield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre) and ,Pennine Domestic Abuse Partnerships.

Over 2000 Kirklees’ residents have benefitted from participation in these sessions, which have been delivered in 40 different venues across Kirklees.

The positive impact of our sessions has been noted across all of these groups by our partner organisations and by participants.

Our most significant expansion of sessions has been in the Community Yoga groups.

This has been in response to the need to develop social cohesion, as well as improve physical and mental wellbeing of individuals, following the highly negative impact of the pandemic in areas with the highest levels of multiple deprivation indices.

We have delivered sessions in 15 local wards in Kirklees and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. This feedback from one participant captures the multi-layered benefits of our community sessions and is typical of the comments we receive:

“Coming to the Yoga sessions is time for myself. Yoga has helped with my hip pain and I generally feel more flexible and relaxed. Laura has a very calm approach and explains each move and breathing in tune with movement. I have also met new people and made new friends.”

Our sessions for our other specific groups have also received very positive feedback and have been greatly appreciated by staff members working with the participants more closely (e.g., support staff in the day centres we visit), as this feedback from Ability Options (a day centre for adults with Learning Disabilities) shows:

“Our members love their yoga sessions, it has helped with breathing and any mobility issues that they have. They learn relaxation techniques”. The Young Onset Dementia group said: “Everyone leaves with a smile after yoga, the relaxing sessions at the end are great too as are the breathing exercises. The Yoga helps with coordination, which is a real problem for many of our group.”

In response to feedback from our partner organisations [working with older people and those with dementia that participants struggled to recall moves to practise them outside of our sessions] we have developed a series of Yoga Prompt Cards.

These feature photographs and simple explanations of the moves to help our users enjoy the benefits of yoga whenever they wish. We plan to share these with our group classes and individuals, and eventually offer them for sale to generate income.

Grant Funding

Since April 2022 we have been awarded 23 grants.

We gratefully acknowledge our successful applications to several local funding bodies, including:

,Third Sector Leaders Kirklees,

,One Community,

,Creative Minds

,Yorkshire Sport

We’ve also branched out to national funding bodies.

This is in order to increase the breadth of our reach and support, with success coming from:

National Lottery, Cheshire Community Fund, Sport England and Near Neighbours.

Not all our applications have been successful of course – we’ve had 6 applications rejected in the last 12 months (from The National Lottery, Barchester Fund, One Community, Third Sector Leaders).

In order to learn from these experiences, we have sought feedback where possible, so we can develop our applications for the future!

Additional Funding

The majority of our income continues to come from grant funding. We are working on strengthening other sources of funding in an effort to remain sustainable and cover our growing core costs.

Staff Wellbeing Yoga

We offer ‘Staff Wellbeing’ yoga to companies so that they can take care of staff wellbeing needs as well as meet Corporate Social Responsibility targets.

The sessions we’ve delivered have been very well received, but with limited time and resources to promote this offering we have only been able to secure a few contracts.


We actively fundraise and have led several successful events (e.g., sound baths, sunrise yoga & breakfast, Ashtanga beats sessions) as well as receiving sponsorship for events (e.g., a marathon by one of our staff). We accept donations for classes from some of our community members (individuals and partner organisations).

Exploring Service Level Partnerships

We are developing draft proposals for service level partnerships with other local organisations such as Housing Associations and collaborations with Social Prescribing contacts.

Developing our additional funding sources is a priority for the next 12 months


We have forged many valued partnerships over the last 12 months, as well as collaborating with some other excellent groups.

Our partnership network now includes: Waves Day Centre, Highfields Day Centre, Womens Centre, Support to Recovery, Pennine Domestic Abuse Network, Kirklees Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Mencap in Kirklees, Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees, Ability Options, Young Onset Dementia network.


We have updated our board of directors.

Ellie Firth ( Director) remains in position as CEO. Two staff members have moved into position on the board: Pollyanna Steiner (Exec Director) and Rachel Gosling (Exec Director). We have recruited a new Non-Exec Director – Carole Roberts – and a new Chair of Directors – Anna Riddell-Roberts.

Two previous non-exec directors have been retired (Dean Firth and Nikki Wiltshire). Another staff member moved into a Directorship post but has since retired (Laura Merriman). Laura remains involved with Umbrella Yoga as a yoga session leader and admin support.

Our team of yoga session leaders remains strong, with three new appointments in the last 12 months, taking us to a total of 10. One of our teachers (Helen White) also manages our accounts.


It is important for our work to be evidence-based.

We always collect feedback to evaluate our service so that we can understand our impact and develop as necessary, an example of which is the creation of the yoga prompt cards.

We are also collaborating with research groups to facilitate understanding the efficacy and impact of yoga with specific additional needs groups. We have formed several collaborations in this regard:

    • Long COVID yoga – project planning with Sheffield Hallam University and the Sheffield Long COVID Rehabilitation Unit.
    • Yoga for Trauma Survivors – service evaluation underway in collaboration with KRASAC and a research team at Coventry University.
    • Yoga for Learning Disabilities – project planning in support of a PhD project being led by Cardiff University.
    • Mindful Movement for Dementia – one of our team members (Jordan Wilkley) is moving into a research position examining the benefits of movement for dementia. We will stay involved in this project.

Notable Achievements & Developments

    • We were awarded the Best Start-Up award by the Social Enterprise Yorkshire & Humber network, 2022.
    • As a team we discussed, reworked, and finally established our Mission Statement (to deliver yoga sessions to additional needs groups in Kirklees, West Yorkshire) and our Core Values (Accessible, Collaborative, Community Focused, Uplifting, Sustainable).
    • We have invested in a new CRM system to track our growing community network and our session delivery.
    • Transitioned to dedicated email system (from gmail).
    • Improved our website and social media presence significantly
    • We have engaged in business support and planning with Rachel Walmsley from SUCCEED Training & Development Ltd.
    • Completed a program of development as a social enterprise with Lisa Jagger from Straightforward Funding.
    • Developed our Volunteer Program
    • Ensured all our staff are trained in Safeguarding and Health & Safety
    • Reviewed all our policies.

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