ATI Participant Stories – Meet Lucy

ATI Participant Stories – Meet Lucy

This week, in celebration of International Women’s Day and the wonderful women on Action Towards Inclusion (ATI),  we’re back with another participant story featuring the lovely Lucy, keyworker Gemma from Orb, and a Sun- Power yoga class.

Having joined ATI in May 2022, Lucy has been attending a number of Orb interventions in view of improving her wellbeing and venturing out of the house. One of these interventions is a yoga class she helped spearhead, having persuaded Orb to explore the idea of setting up a group. Needless to say, the 16 week course has been a hit with Orb’s participants and there’s a real mix of ages and abilities.

Hosted in a warm, inviting space, the yoga is accessible- for every contortion you can’t manage, tutor Helen Dempster offers up two more. This marks Lucy’s 14th week, and throughout the classes she’s (re)learnt how to breathe, relax, and find her footing both inside and outside of the class. Lucy says it ‘’sounds obvious’’ but learning breathing techniques and yoga mantras has helped her ‘’manage’’ anxious moments, and she now has the ability to re-centre and practice mindfulness in times of difficulty. The sessions have also been a good buffer to meet and engage with other members of Orb and the community- having a focus alleviates some of the nerves which inevitably accompany group activities.

Having experienced challenges with her mental health, working with Orb has given Lucy structure and focus. Throughout the project, she’s attended the Rural Arts art group (working on pottery and lino printing amongst other things), WEA’s (Workers Educational Association) course on managing stress, and an in-house photography group.

Creating and engaging within the groups initially gave Lucy a focal point with family in a particularly difficult period of depression, but has also allowed her to explore her passions as potential routes into employment. Building on a love for the outdoors, discussions with Gemma have focused on sound and forest bathing (meditative therapies) amongst other things,  and Gemma later introduced Lucy to organisation Make it Wild, where she’s since begun volunteering on rewilding and conservation projects.

Now in a more positive place, Lucy has set her sights on a career with canines, and is pursuing dog walking. Gemma has been supporting Lucy to bring this to fruition, and with  ATI funding, Lucy was able to access a canine first aid course, and has begun volunteering at dog walker/boarder/groomer’s PAWs. Doing so has provided invaluable work experience, and she’s now engaging with prospective employers and moving ever closer to employment.

Best of luck Lucy, and thank you to Helen for hosting such an accessible class.

To learn more about Orb, click the link- Orb Arts | ( & keep checking in for more participant stories.

Laura Sandiford

Post by Laura Sandiford

Impact Coordinator

A keen storyteller, collaborator and engagement enthusiast, Laura works alongside Hannah as the Impact Coordinator, where she measures and highlights the impact of Better Connect across its business, programmes, and partnerships. She does so by working with a range of people to gather information and stories, which she then translates into engaging content across Better Connect’s channels.

Building relationships and networks is a large part of Laura’s role, alongside ensuring the ‘’Better Connect story’’ is woven throughout all communications.

Laura’s favourite part of the role is connecting with the faces behind the case studies and giving voice to their experiences.

Learn more about Laura