At our supported living service in Richmond, the people we support are always trying new things. From gardening and pottery painting, to hosting tea parties and BBQs, they’re always getting involved in something exciting and fun.

Emer Morris, our service manager for Richmond, decided to organise yoga sessions as ‘something a bit different’.

Our Richmond service received a grant to organise a series of yoga sessions through our Small Sparks programme, funded by the Clothworkers’ Foundation and United Response supporters. These grants enable the people we support to be active members of the wider community and form valuable friendships.

Making yoga accessible

Yoga has proven benefits for physical and emotional wellbeing, but is not always accessible to people with disabilities.

Two of the people we support in Richmond had tried yoga before and enjoyed it, so Emer was determined to build on their enthusiasm as well as introduce the activity to those who had never tried it before.

The group all have different needs, so Emer set out to find an instructor who would be able to make yoga both fun and accessible to the whole group. 

When she met Kelly, a local instructor who specialises in running bespoke classes for people with disabilities, she knew she would be perfect. Kelly takes a person-centred approach to her yoga classes – tailoring them to each individual’s needs.

In their first session, Kelly got to know the group and asked them what sort of music they like to listen to, so that they she could make a playlist of music they could enjoy throughout the classes.

Keeping fit with friends

The first class was a huge hit! One young man we support called Jack, said that he found it relaxing as well as enjoyable.

Another young man called Sam, who has a learning disability and is non-verbal, communicated:

“I like doing the positions on the floor at yoga and being with all my friends.”

The social side of the group was definitely a popular element. Everyone in the group gets along well, so it is a good excuse for them all to get together while doing something which is good for fitness and wellbeing.

Kayleigh, who is keen on sport and works as a swimming instructor, said:

“It was funny trying out all the different positions.”

The group is continuing to enjoy the yoga sessions in the sunny garden for the last few weeks of summer and hopes to carry them on in a local indoor space over the coming months.

To keep up-to-date with the latest from our Richmond service, take a look at their dedicated Facebook page.

Richmond United Response Facebook page