Women-Only Respite Stays at Frimhurst

While Frimhurst Family House continues to welcome entire families and to host a variety of recreational and skill-sharing events, a new practice has begun of reserving certain weekends for women only.

For participants, these respite stays offer a much-needed break from the challenges of life in persistent poverty. The tranquil grounds of Frimhurst are conducive to friendship, creativity, and respite. One such weekend in June was the perfect opportunity to take a step back from daily worries and strains, to find some calm, and to forget about problems for a couple of days.

Workshops were on offer throughout the stay, inspiring the women to unleash their artistic talents. One painted a stone for the birthday of someone special. Cards were made and offered for Mother’s Day. Sachets of lavender were sewn and given as gifts for each participant to take home at the end of her stay. Solitary walks in the park helped spark the poetic genius of one visitor.

A retreat to the countryside wouldn’t be complete without an afternoon at a local landmark. On Saturday, the small group visited the National Trust’s award-winning site at Dapdune Wharf. There, they climbed aboard a restored barge, learned about the story of the canals and the people who lived and worked on them, and browsed through the bargains of a secondhand bookshop. On Sunday morning, to the participants’ delight, “Frimhurst Spa” opened offering an indulgent pampering session.

One guest summed up her experience at Frimhurst, saying: “I have been shown kindness and value — not something I experience within my usual environment. A very big thank you”.

Events like this help women in persistent poverty to gain new strength to face the constant challenges and hurdles they meet with in their lives.

Frimhurst is also a place where women of all backgrounds can bring their children for a new series of child-friendly “LoveFrimhurst” volunteering days where everyone helps maintain the extensive grounds. Closer links are being forged with local schools, and we have had an enthusiastic response from the young helpers and their parents. One mother commented: “I was very pleased to discover Frimhurst Family House through one of the mums at my daughter’s school. It is not easy to find the right opportunity [for voluntary work] where little children can also take part and contribute”.

It is great to experience such community spirit at Frimhurst!

– Gertraud Trivedi