Dear Nottingham MP’s

We are writing to you to campaign for our, and other similar businesses to remain open during the coming national lockdown period.

After reading the Nottingham Post article about how you are being left in the dark about the government’s changing plans and how you voiced your concerns about people’s mental health and how it’s evidently deteriorating rapidly, we wanted to open up a conversation in the hope of contributing to a resolution to your worries and air our feelings towards this topic and the service we provide in Nottingham.

We are writing to you to voice our deep concern in regard to the coming lockdown; in terms of how this will heavily affect mental health all over the country. We run our wellness and yoga space- at1.SPACE in Nottingham and we feel that we are an essential service to the local community. Our work has a strong focus on helping people mentally with their daily challenges and through tough times, the COVID-19 pandemic not being an exception. We not only teach yoga but also mindfulness, meditation and breathwork. By bringing us back to the here and now we help to diminish stress and worries and promote positivity and self- worth. This is something that we believe we all should be practicing on a daily basis in this modern world, but even more so in these times.

Our members consist of key workers i.e. doctors working in critical condition departments and witnessing death every day, people in high intensity jobs, people with severe mental health issues and people with disabilities. We strongly believe these people and their mental wellbeing should be supported and our service delivers this. We have an online service. However, not all our members, especially the ones who most need our services, can access social media. Our philosophy is to always be inclusive and support those around us. We are unable to continue with this philosophy and work ethos if we are forced to close.

Our space is free of judgement and criticism, our members call it their ‘urban sanctuary’ where they can come in, put their worries aside and focus on themselves through movement and headspace. Our member’s video testimonials on our Instagram page and website endorse this. We want to highlight that we aren’t a fitness service and we also wouldn’t consider ourselves a leisure facility either. We believe our work is fundamental and delivered in a space where people can nurture their wellbeing. We see this commitment through a continuous stream of membership renewals.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have ensured safety, always adhered to procedures asked of us by the government and have never had any cases within our community. We understand and acknowledge the physical health worry of the virus, however we don’t believe that mental health and wellbeing should also be impacted as a consequence. We all have our own struggles and finding healthy ways to deal with day to day life should be heavily pushed and promoted at this time by the government, health services and businesses within this field.

We also acknowledge the worrying impact on mental and physical health services currently and we believe we are a business that should be standing alongside the government’s

considered ‘essential’ services right now. We believe that if we can bear some of the weight of the collateral damage of the pandemic then we should be encouraged to do so, and we are eager to do so.

Nottingham mental health statistics are beyond worrying. We have heard first-hand from some of our members working in departments such as Accident and Emergency that almost all the cases are mental health related, and mainly seen in young people overdosing and self-harming. This is utterly alarming to us and exacerbates our eagerness to continue providing our service. We should be moving through these times in the healthiest way we can rather than starving the community’s wellbeing outlets. We can no longer afford to be casual about the services we cut off in areas of care and support.

When patients go to the GP about depression, anxiety or other mental health issues, the resource package they receive includes videos of yoga and meditation. It is clinically proven to increase mental wellbeing. This is the pinnacle of the service we provide and rather than just pre-recorded videos, we work with our members on a personal basis, providing for their individual needs.

Our proposition is that services of wellbeing, such as the one we provide, are reconsidered within the closures directed to take place by government during the national lockdown on Thursday 5th November. We can no longer afford to stretch the health services any further, outlets supporting mental and physical wellbeing which can be conducted in a COVID-secure way should be encouraged to stay open. COVID-19 has globally destroyed livelihoods, finances, relationships, businesses, methods of education and life-long endeavours. Let us value all health support systems now before it is to late.

Thank you for your time,

The at1.TEAM

at1 Space Exterior

©at1.SPACE - Yoga Nottingham.