Sue Tideswell | Director & Teacher
I have been both director and yoga teacher with Softly Softly Yoga CIC. I trained at the Yoga Tree 2015 - 2016 under the watchful eye of Atma Gyanam Saraswati (RYT 200 hrs Accredited by Yoga Alliance UK).
I have experience in advice, welfare, social care, counselling and publicity. Yoga has helped me personally through difficult periods of my life. Working with vulnerable people through Softly Softly Yoga CIC has been a wonderful opportunity to put my love of yoga and my belief in it’s potential to transform into practise in the local community.
Steve Wiseman | Director
It’s not easy for small social enterprises and charities to survive and thrive in the current economic climate. I do the best I can to support them through mentoring, business planning, project development and fundraising, also working to set up new community groups where there’s a need.
My experience is rooted in 8 years via my company Wiseman & Associates www.wisemanandassociates.co.uk and my previous career as CEO of Norwich & West Norfolk Citizens Advice Bureau. I’m proud to have nurtured Softly Softly Yoga since its inception, it certainly accords with my values in enabling disadvantaged communities to take up opportunities that normally they wouldn’t be able to afford.
James O’Donoghue | Director
I have been glad to oversee both The Breathe Easy Project and The Grace Under Pressure Project as a Director of Softly Softly Yoga CIC.
I am well versed in a wide range of media skills having worked in both press and publicity roles for the Government and as Head of Information for the Serious Fraud Office. This has provided me with the marketing and design expertise needed in creating a buzz about this terrific project run for the benefit of the people of Norwich.
Jan McLachlan | Director
I have a background in the Arts and worked for many years as a librarian and union rep at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). I am a passionate supporter of community led action with a strong belief in the benefits of grass roots organisations like Softly Softly Yoga CIC.
As a director and keen yogini, I have been happy to contribute my time and energy both practically and creatively, developing and contributing to the ethos of the organisation, promoting the classes and networking to encourage take up.
Aaron Attila | Content Designer & Online Community Manager
I am a big fan of grassroots charitable organisations who are truly commited to helping those most in need. I have a background within music and content creation, and have been fortunate enough to be retained to look after all digital aspects of the Softly Softly Yoga CIC on an exclusive basis. I also built this website!
Yoga is truly a magical practice that can fundamentally shift your perception on life, and provide exceptional healing functionality. It is thoroughly rewarding to oversee the work of the organisation, and be a part of it.
Isabel Ponce-Grosso | Psychotherapist & Counsellor
Isabel contributes to Softly Softly Yoga CIC and offers a holistic approach to psychological wellbeing and mental health. She has worked for the NHS and the University Counselling Service, and delivered Wellbeing in the Workplace and Mindfulness workshops for different organisations.
Lauren Parr | Yoga Teacher
Lauren contributes to Softly Softly Yoga CIC having recently returned to Norfolk after spending the last 15 years living across Europe and Australia, where she studied a variety of different holistic techniques. She loves to draw on the mind-body-soul connection, bringing a calm to the nervous system. Her main focus is teaching a mindful blend of hatha, yin and restorative yoga, as well as pre and post-natal yoga.
Marie Williams | Yoga Teacher
Marie contributes to Softly Softly Yoga CIC having been trained in India in 2018 to become a yoga teacher. She is currently furthering her studies and training in Yoga Therapy. It is Marie's deepest passion to offer yoga as a tool to heal and manage our lives, troubles and traumas.
Rachel Cross | Yoga Teacher
Rachel contributes to Softly Softly Yoga CIC and has over 20 years of professional knowledge, training and experience in the fields of Complementary Health, Yoga and working with Vulnerable People and those who experience severe Mental Health challenges. People often describe her classes as being like their own small communities. Her Classes are fun, challenging, inclusive and as accessible as possible.
Sophie Cowper Johnson | Yoga Teacher
Sophie contributes to Softly Softly Yoga CIC. Her classes are completely breath-led and aim to relax and calm the nervous system rather than to push the body into certain shapes. Along with her studies on the nervous system she works with breath, body and awareness to create a pause in your day.
Yoga is an ancient practise which has stood the test of time, and the postures (asana) and meditation methods like Yoga Nidra are great ways of dealing with common physical ailments like arthritis, back injuries, chronic conditions, and mental health issues. We offer modifications and use of props during classes to adapt the yoga to your own body and capabilities. Softly Softly Yoga classes are always inclusive and welcoming.
We were awarded funding by the AWA National Lottery Scheme in 2016, 2018, and 2020. We've successfully run two previous projects and we are currently running the Norwich Awake Free Yoga Project. We have built up a following for our classes and worked with other not-for-profit organisations to meet the growing need for inclusive services to help alleviate social isolation, loneliness and both physical and mental health issues. Below is a list of classes that we as a collective have run and worked on as part of the two projects to achieve this vision.
Project 1 | Breathe Easy | 2016 - 2018
(Funded by The National Lottery Awards for All Scheme)
We ran a weekly yoga class with Hinde House, a local hostel in the Norwich area for homeless women awaiting permanent housing in 2016 and 2018.
Under One Roof
This Norwich organisation is a valuable resource for homeless, those at risk of homelessness, and other various vulnerable groups. We introduced a successful weekly yoga class as an addition to the services they currently provide.
We ran a weekly Friday drop-in yoga class at Silver Road Community Centre in Norwich. Some of the people using the centre are on low income, unemployed, have physical or mental disabilities and are socially disadvantaged.
Project 2 | Grace Under Pressure | 2018 - 2019
(Funded by The National Lottery Awards for All Scheme)
Cloth of Kindness
The Cloth of Kindness is a community-based textile arts project. They work with groups getting together to sew and chat. The aim is to reduce social isolation and promote well-being giving people a voice in a very personal way. We ran a one-off special yoga class, and plan to do more with them in the future.
Silver Road Continued
In this project we built on the success of the previous year. Many of the attendees happily returned to the classes, which grew as people spread the word about the free yoga class at the Silver Road Community Centre in Norwich.
We worked with the People from Abroad Team, and ran multiple yoga classes in collaboration with this prize-winning social work team from Norfolk County Council. Their focus is to help the Syrian refugees who have settled in the county. The women needed female only classes where they could meet with each other for fun and fitness.
Leeway Safe House
We worked with women taking refuge from violent partners at one of the Leeway safe houses in Norwich by providing therapeutic yoga classes.
Project 3 | The Norwich Awake Free Yoga Project | 2020 - 2021
(Funded by The National Lottery Covid-19 & Awards For All Scheme's)
The last year hasn't been easy for anyone, so in 2020, Softly Softly Yoga CIC has been vital, along with other organisations in providing well-being and holding out a safety net to people in difficulty: those who've lost employment for whom yoga classes have become an unaffordable luxury, as well as those with pre-existing health issues who have found yoga to be a great tool in dealing with stress and anxiety and other physical difficulties.
With a track record of providing yoga and wellbeing to the vulnerable and those in need, in 2020 our organisation received further funding from The National Lottery Covid-19 Fund, which has enabled us to roll out The Norwich Awake Free Yoga Project which is still running.
The CBT Workshop
We are currently offering a CBT workshop hosted by Isabel focused on managing stress in combination with yoga.
We are currently offering Yoga classes with a selection of our CIC yoga contributors, along with our main yoga lead and director Sue
Cloth of Kindness Continued...
During this project we have partnered again with the Cloth of Kindness to provide Yoga techniques to help with wellbeing.