OMC Funded Accessibility Projects – The Mindfulness for Parents and Community Project
In line with our charitable aims we support training, activities or initiatives which widen access to, and participation in, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and practices. Our Accessibility Fund grants are given on the expectation of clear impact, outcomes and/or key learnings. Applications to the Accessibility fund are reviewed by Oxford Mindfulness Foundation Board members, OMC staff and external advisers.
Here, we highlight a recent project supported by the accessibility fund.
THE MINDFULNESS FOR PARENTS AND COMMUNITY PROJECT
- Raise awareness of the benefits of mindfulness with families, particularly focusing on vulnerable and disadvantaged families without the means to access ‘mainstream’ mindfulness courses.
- Support parents in managing stress, and difficulties in their lives enabling them to become more resilient and parent more effectively.
- Deliver mindfulness training courses, workshops and information for families and professionals working with families in the South West.
We worked primarily with BME families in a deprived area of Bristol, collaborating with a local school that has a higher than the national average pupil premium level and English as an additional language. Many of these families have large numbers of children and live in poverty. They live in social housing with high levels of overcrowding. Referrals were received from parents, social care services, health workers and school pastoral care workers. There was a core of 11 very committed attenders out of a group of 16 initially.
In school we ran an adapted mindfulness course with targeted and non-targeted parents. The content comprised a toolbox of experiential practices e.g. sitting, movement, emergency pocket practices and communication tools. These tools grow a strong capacity to work with stress from within the body, thus reducing emotional suffering and stress reactivity, improving emotional resilience & self-belief, developing healthier relationships for parents and their children.
The results of the pre and post course measures and the conversations that were had with parents at the end of the course showed that:
- The course was very helpful
- There were self-reported improvements in levels of stress particularly
- The course did improve the parent/child relationship