How can it be March already? That means I’m well over half way through my profile - and fund-raising year at The Breathworks Foundation. A great time to reflect on what we have achieved and let you know about the very varied initiatives we are trialling.
After spending my first few months getting to know more about the Breathworks family I have started to reach out and talk to people outside the mindfulness world to raise the much-needed funds to continue and potentially extend The Foundation’s bursaries and life changing partnership initiatives.
I have been very moved by the generosity of new contacts, who don’t know much about mindfulness, but love what we are doing at The Foundation. Someone I worked with in my previous arts fundraising role wants, through his business, to fund one person a month for each remaining month of 2019, to attend a Mindfulness course. Another has gifted us four amazing celebrity art works (one worth $10,000) to place on US online auction site CharityBuzz, where they go to the highest bidder after being promoted, alongside Breathworks, for just a fortnight.
We have identified a few Trusts and Foundations to apply to for external funding and I enjoyed pulling together an application for The Big Lottery’s new pilot scheme Leaders with Lived Experience. It describes a ‘lived experience leader’ as someone who uses their first-hand knowledge of a social issue to create positive change for, and with, communities and people they share those experiences with. Vidyamala created Breathworks to share how mindfulness positively changed her life, which she has subsequently brought to thousands of others and enabled nearly 500 teachers to train too. We are hoping to fund more individuals with long term health conditions, supporting them to take their skills back to their communities and offer free 8-week courses. Keep your fingers crossed as only 15-20 projects will be funded up to £50,000 over the next two years.
I have come to realise that a large part of my role is profile raising - of both the amazing work and reach Vidyamala, the team and all you trained teachers out there have achieved and also that we are a charity. We need to let anyone, and everyone, know the structure of the Breathworks family. The Breathworks Foundation is a charity that sits at the top of the organisation. Then there is Breathworks CIC, which is the ‘trading wing’, running all the activities such a teacher training and programme delivery. All profits from Breathworks CIC return to The Foundation to help fund courses and training for people who experience hardship. Alongside this The Foundation engages in its own fundraising which is a very important part of our work. It is a beautiful structure whereby we can fulfil our heart-felt wish that no-one should be denied access to the life-changing skills of mindfulness. To raise the profile of The Breathworks Foundation we are creating a new leaflet and launching a new website very soon – showcasing your testimonials, blogs and case studies. Many thanks to those amazing volunteers helping prepare this material and all the individuals who have contributed so far.
Look out for more news about the two charity fundraising challenges currently in development to spread the word and enable people to give smaller amounts in a more traditional sponsorship way. Firstly Sona, Breathworks Co-Founder, is pulling a gang of five people together to do a 50k organised Night Ride in Bristol in July. To celebrate turning 70 he bought an electric bike and loves the idea of this challenge to get him really fit. Another wonderfully generous and dedicated trainee teacher is working up to do a night Yorkshire Three Peaks sponsored walk in August.
If you’d like to participate in either of these fun events, please let us know.
Finally, I’m delighted to report that after our recent volunteer call out, we now have a team ready to run a digital marketing campaign – so watch this space!!