Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


Enlightening is a small Community Interest Company based in Rochdale, an area of which 28% of the neighbourhoods are in the top 10% of the most deprived in England. For over 5 years we have pioneered a unique creative, holistic and person centred approach to support children, young people and adults with disabilities (mostly Autism) to improve their health and well-being. This enables them to benefit from proven therapeutic interventions including The Bowen Technique, Reflexology, Reiki, Counselling and Far Infrared Sauna. These therapies reduce stress and anxiety as well as promoting improvements in health such as better sleep patterns, reduced allergies, improved symptoms in many conditions including Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and pain relief. Alongside the therapies we offer creative arts activities including Yoga, Circus Skills, Dance, Drama, Painting Drawing and Creative Writing. We have a strong track record of volunteer development and have recently employed a former volunteer who initially came to us through MIND for support with anxiety.

We recently developed and successfully implemented a new pilot programme called StressBusters for schools that incorporates Yoga, Relax Kids/Chill Skills, Philosophy for Children and Circus Skills.

We now want to run a Viva StressBusters, a pilot for Adults because over the years we have come across many adults who are living with high levels of stress, anxiety and/or depression. Through one of our projects for children and young people with disabilities commissioned by Rochdale Council Short Breaks (Feel Good Factor) we identified that parents and carers bringing children to our well-equipped centre were very much in need of support and health treatments. As carers they do not feel they have the time to tend to themselves and certainly do not have the money. Ironically, the aim of the project is to provide short breaks for families but this commissioning stream only funds work with children. Viva StressBusters will provide treatments for parents/carers which they can access while their children are engaged in their Short Break sessions.

Our target group also includes the increasing number of adults referred to us by MIND and Respect for All who have Autism and are battling severe anxiety and depression and others we have come across who have been diagnosed with Bipolar or Personality Disorder but suspect their symptoms are due to undiagnosed Autism. Some have been chronically debilitated by anxiety to the point where they are not functioning in society and at the same time they have not qualified for the government support they so badly need and so cannot afford to pay for treatments. The coping strategies adopted by many of our clients with undiagnosed Autism and/or ADHD are varied and some have "self medicated" with drugs and/or alcohol to mask or manage their anxiety. Without a diagnosis it is difficult for this group to access meaningful support. Through Viva StressBusters we can offer a bespoke programme that caters to each individual's needs and leads them towards a healthier, happier future.

The programme is designed to reduce stress and anxiety and provide practical tools and skills for independence. We will do this by offering access to all the treatments listed above plus 1-1 and group sessions comprising:
Yoga for Stress Management
Circus Skills for Self Esteem
Life Coaching to enable setting of realistic goals
Diet and nutritional advice
Reiki Level 1 training
Introduction to Volunteer Peer Mentoring

With £10,000 funding, we will be able to run Viva StressBusters as a stand-alone pilot project. As we have a client base ready to start we could implement the project immediately. The funding will provide this programme of empowering activities and therapies for 15 people per week in 4 x 12 week blocks over 1 year. The significant benefits will ripple out into the families and wider communities of the beneficiaries.

Autism Empowerment UK CIC - Trading as Enlightening

Moment of Pride

We see every problem as a solution waiting to happen and are determined to find one in every case. Because participants on our programmes experience lasting change for the better they always give back by volunteering their time, energy, knowledge and skills. That makes us very proud!

Location: Rochdale, United Kingdom