Impact Live And Online

Hello! It’s been eight weeks of heads down to turn our work around, and I am excited to update you all on how far we have come in a considerably small amount of time.

When Lockdown measures were put in place on 23rd March, the team were in the middle of two YOU Programmes at opposite ends of the county and with unusually large groups, averaging 14 per programme.

Our single priority was to ensure we could complete the programmes for every learner who could meet with us online in the coming weeks. The result? Success!

The team have been relentless in its drive to convert our programme content, resources and delivery methods to meet the new and exciting challenges of teaching online. Moreover, our focus has also been spent on ensuring our learners are able to easily access the new learning platform and to effortlessly save, print, view or read the materials linked to their programmes while following our facilitators via an interactive live video platform.

Has it been easy? It’s been as easy as learning Mandarin! Such is the complicated language of digital I.T. However, we have had the unlimited support, skill and expertise of Rubber Duck Digital, who has gone above and beyond to ready Impact. The Rubber Duck Digital team has quite simply been a game changer for our team to be able to adapt quickly and continue to meet the requirements and support of all those who need our help.

Impact Goodie Bags
Impact Goodie Bags

So, what’s next? Having successfully wrapped up two YOU Programmes, the team is now mid way through our Strengths Based Recovery programme; YOUR Recovery Pathways.

This longer and more intense programme which started on April 29th began with ‘Impact Goodies’ for all of the learners! The ‘goodies’ involved the Pathways to Recovery Manual, an assortment of writing implements, post it notes, highlighters and other stationary items, which we know are much used and appreciated on our face to face programmes.

We wanted to give our current learners, who signed up to the online YOUR Recovery Pathways, every opportunity to enjoy, engage, learn and have fun just as they would in their communities with the Impact team. To ensure that happened, we are delivered Impact Goody Bags before the programme started!

Recommended Reading – You Are Here By Thich Nhat Hanh

You Are Here - Thich Nhat Hanh

If you’re stuck for something to read or you’re having trouble concentrating because of anxiety or fear, we have a book recommendation just for you

It’s small but packed full of easy-read material that can help all of us take a moment to remember who we are and where we are.

You Are Here By Thich Nhat Hanh

A beautiful reading journey to help you discover the magic of the present moment. An important book to help us all stay grounded and get back in touch with our lives.

“I’ve read this book so many times and each time I am struck by the powerful simplicity of how to just be me, now…”

Déanne Clark Impact CEO

Relaxation Videos and Audio

Impact are putting together Relaxation and Meditation videos and audio to help anyone struggling with the change in our lives and the uncertainty of our future.

Here’s our first one and don’t forget to follow us on Youtube for more.

We hope you enjoy the relaxation, and remember, the only important moment for you is now…

Unlocking Emotional Lockdown – Impact Cares

“How do I cope with this change and manage my feelings?”

This is an all too common question the team and I are asked, especially over the last eight weeks.

So much so, that the Jackie and I started to list some of the more common and familiar symptoms and feelings expressed by our learners, friends and family, directly relating to the impact of Covid-19 and the emotions caused as a result of the UK’s lockdown.

Here’s what we did:

We asked 80 people, a mix of learners, friends and family, to list positive and negative emotions felt as a result of the pandemic and consequently the lockdown.

Of those 80 people, 64 replied with an age range of 22 to 76 and with a staggering 92% female response.

Here’s what we found:

The most common Negative emotion felt from our study was Anxiety.

People described their anxiety in similar ways; anxious about the future, about work or money and health for their family.

A close second felt by more than 50% was the emotion Fear, which we know can cause anxiety and other negative emotions and behaviours.

Other emotions listed in our study looked like this:

  • Unease
  • Helplessness
  • Worry
  • Lethargy
  • Concern
  • Nostalgic
  • Bored
  • Overwhelmed
  • Emotional
  • Claustrophobic
  • Frustration
  • Isolated
  • Lonely
  • Failure
  • Nothing
  • Uninspired
  • Lazy
  • Panic
  • Numbness
  • Insomnia
  • Agoraphobic
  • Challenging
  • Sadness
  • Nervous
  • Gloomy
  • Scared
  • Disappointment
  • Lost
  • Grief
  • Cheated
  • Disturbed
  • Troubled
  • Exhaustion
  • Caged
  • Disbelief

The most common Positive emotion we came across was Peace and despite all of the negative emotions listed above, more than 90% of our research showed that people felt at peace or a sense of peace as a direct result of the lockdown.

The second positive emotion was Calm. People described the feelings of calm that came from a place of rest by being at home and with loved ones, or from having expectations lifted from them because of the lockdown.

Some of the other positive emotions we found:

  • Relief
  • Compassion
  • Hope
  • Understanding
  • Focus
  • Contentment
  • Love
  • Nurturing
  • Zen

From a very brief and small piece of research, Impact have been able to report that whilst the more common and expected emotions of anxiety and fear are present and very real in our study, we did not anticipate the overwhelming positive emotional responses describing peace and calm born out of a global pandemic.

In no way does this short study reflect a larger picture of the nation. However, we are encouraged and happily surprised by the unexpected positive emotions many people are feeling.

Impact hope to widen this study as we slowly move out of lockdown and further investigate if ‘we’ can hold on to peace and calm now and in the future.

If you would like to anonymously take part in any further studies relating to Unlocking Emotional Lockdown, why not get in touch.

A Celebration Of Growth

In October of this year, Impact had planned to celebrate a total of 10 years’ operating and delivering support services and wellbeing courses in Central Bedfordshire and Bedford as a Charity from 2010 for five years and as a Community Interest Company since 2015.

Regrettably, our celebration will now be postponed but with good reason! We want to ensure that when we throw a party to mark the survival of Impact through a recession, funding cuts and a global pandemic that we can open up the doors of the Grove Theatre and welcome all of you!

That said, we will most certainly be in touch this year with a revised date once we are sure that the Impact celebration can and will go ahead in true Impact style.

Feel Good Fridays

To help with the challenging lockdown time, Impact have put together weekly sessions called Feel Good Fridays, which are open to all our previous learners.

Starting every Friday at 10.30 and lasting for a couple of hours. These sessions are all about fun, discussions around health & wellbeing, updates and games! It’s a bit like popping out for coffee with friends and going home feeling relaxed, informed and more often than not, in a better mood!

We have already enjoyed many great discussions, lots of laughs, a quiz, a home scavenger hunt, bingo and a fancy dress competition!

Current Feel Good Friday learners are suggesting the Friday activities, so why not come along, catch up with old friends, make new friends and be a part of our online, wellbeing peer support. The sessions are open to all current and previous Impact learners. If you want to find out how to join us – register here for your invitation. Sessions are held on Zoom. You can find some FAQs and “how-tos” here.

Corona Virus Update

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE LEARNERS

THE SAFETY AND WELLBEING OF OUR STAFF, VOLUNTEERS, LEARNERS AND VISITORS IS OUR PRIORITY.

Following the Prime Minister’s advice on Monday 16 March, Impact will cease to deliver its programmes in the community from Monday 23rd March until further notice.

This difficult decision has been made in line with the Prime Minister’s recommendation to the public to adhere to social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.

However, we now have plans in place to continue to deliver courses online

Alternative Programme delivery

Impact are working hard to ensure that all those who have enrolled onto to our existing and future programmes, and who can join us online, receive the remainder of their learning.

Future online programmes & online wellbeing information

We will be delivering online courses and wellbeing support throughout the coming weeks and months to existing learners and all those in need of mental wellbeing information.

All existing and current learners will be contacted over the next few days by email, text or phone with details of how and where to access the online courses.

Bedfordshire Employment and Skills Services

 FREE courses for Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough residents 

 Local, community based courses 

Including Impact Mental Health Peer Support groups 

  • The YOU Programme 
  • YOUR Recovery Pathways 
  • Wellbeing 
  • English, maths and ICT 
  • ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) 
  • Employability and job skills courses to get into work 

Advice and Guidance – One to one support to help you make decisions on learning, training and work. 

Find out more by visiting  www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/adultlearning or call  0300 300 8110 

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning For Macmillan

Impact are supporting our friends at the Grove Theatre to celebrate Macmillan Coffee Morning on Friday 27th September, 10.30 to 12.30.

How could you say no to helping a cracking cause and cake all in one morning while raising vital funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

In addition, watch a special showing of Calendar Girls

Calendar Girls

Part of the Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event – enjoy a free tea/coffee and a cake before the film and help us raise money for cancer support.

After the death of her best friend’s husband from cancer, spirited Yorkshire housewife Chris Harper hatches a scheme to raise money for a memorial to him. Utilising a tradition from the hidebound Woman’s Institute association, Chris encourages her friends to create a calendar — with the novel detail of using the middle-aged women of their village as nude models.

Bookable online or by calling the Box Office on 01582 60 20 80

World's Biggest Macmillan Coffee Morning

Summer Journal 2019

What a year!

Our useful range of wellbeing-measuring tools, include the PHQ9 and GAD7, which offer an additional way to measure our learner’s mental wellbeing, particularly the decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety after completing a programme.

The graph below shows the total scores for all learners completing YOU and YOUR Recovery Pathways programmes and highlights the overwhelming evidence of the positive benefits our programmes can provide for better mental wellbeing.

[infogram id=”e4e8974e-dfe5-45e7-a0cb-ab8eb9023c4c” prefix=”kwh” format=”interactive” title=”You Programme Results 2019″]

Impact are always looking at improving how we can measure the benefits of attending our programmes and from autumn 2019 we will be adding the short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, short version – SWEMWBS.

The WEMWBS is included in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council and is a positively worded short questionnaire to further enable the measurement of mental wellbeing of adults.

Our favourite way to showcase how much our programmes can and do improve wellbeing and lives, is to share learner stories, and we are honoured to share two stories from two very courageous ladies who attended the YOU and YOUR Recovery Programmes recently.

A Mental Health Story From Bedford
Going Forward With Life
I found Impact
I Found Impact

A huge thank you and congratulations to all of the learners who attended one or both of our programmes. Warriors, one and all.

For new learners coming our way, welcome and thank you for choosing Impact, the team and I look forward to working with you.

Professionals and referrers, if you would like to come and see what we do and how we do it, why not get in touch and register for an Impact in Action session. It’s a great opportunity to find out more about our courses and watch the team in action!

It’s been such a rewarding year watching our learners develop new wellbeing tools, build peer support networks and find the courage to practice self-empowerment and self-care.


We are now busy preparing for the start of our autumn courses, adding new programme content and ensuring our programmes continue to meet the needs of anyone struggling with poor mental wellbeing.

New course details are now available and online bookings and referrals can now now be made via the YOU Programme and YOUR Recovery Pathways pages.

The Impact office will re-open on Monday 19th August.

Déanne, Jackie & the Impact Team