Two Oswestry health practitioners are running a crowdfunding campaign to launch The Soma Space, an innovative new studio for movement and mental health, located in the town’s Memorial Hall, and are close to achieving their target of £7,000.
Aiming to open this new space as a pop-up in Autumn, the founders – Level 3 personal trainer Jo Hazell-Watkins and psychotherapist & author Kevin Braddock – will offer group and individual workshops combining exercise and mental health learning to benefit the community.
This project builds on the work the duo has been doing in the town since January 2023 with their SomaDynamic: Movement for Mental Health project, running weekly sessions and so far, making over 150 combined physical & mental health interventions. Their project is now also registered as a CIC (Community Interest Company) and has received backing from Santander Bank and been supported by start-up consultancy Be a Better Fish and Martin & Jones Marketing.
Hazell-Watkins and Braddock say. “The benefits of exercise on mental health are widely known today and promoted by the NHS but would be participants may struggle to find ways to bring more movement into their lives, often finding typical gym experiences anxiety-inducing, In our workshops and sessions, we programme a range of exercises, tailored to individual abilities, and include learning and group reflection to add to the experience.
“Participants tell us the space we create is welcoming and inclusive, and they leave feeling that they have worked on both their physical and mental health simultaneously.” The Soma Space will base itself in the central Oswestry location from late September and is the next phases in project’s development.”
About Jo Hazell-Watkins & Kevin Braddock
Personal Trainer Jo Hazell-Watkins is one of only three trauma-informed weightlifting practitioners in the UK – a field in its infancy but which is attracting serious academic interest today – while Braddock, who grew up in Oswestry, returned to the town in January after qualifying as psychotherapist last year and being accepted on the BACP’s national register of counsellors. Braddock is also author of the book “Everything Begins with Asking for Help: An Honest Guide to Depression & Anxiety” which won standout reviews and was featured in the national press.
“We both know from personal experience the value of exercise of all forms on mental health, and opening The Soma Space with the generous backing of friends, colleagues and local supporters will enable us to serve the community at a time when physical and mental health have never been so important,” say Hazell-Watkins and Braddock.
The More information on the crowdfunding campaign is available at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/thesomaspace SomaDynamic is on social media at https://www.instagram.com/somadynamic/