What It Means to Win an Award

Karen Atkinson from MindfulnessUK won silver in the Southern England Business Woman of the year category

Wining the silver award in the Southern England Business Woman of the Year category at the National Business Woman’s Awards is recognition for all the work that we have been doing at MindfulnessUK.  This award is for the whole team and everyone that supports us.

MindfulnessUK started when I decided to leave the NHS as I really wanted to set up a centre for mindfulness and yoga. With encouragement and support I found a property in Taunton.  When I viewed it, I could feel the positive energy in the property as it had been home to several charities since the 1970’s so there was something really special about it and I knew it was the right place.

This all happened during a recession, but I was determined the carry on, take my business plan and bring it all to life.

It was a remarkably busy for the first 3 years, building the organisation, letting people know what we were doing, offering different therapies with a variety of therapists, and building the reputation of the business.

Then in 2013, I was diagnosed with cancer. This was a really pivotal time for me, a cross-roads really, and after which I came back to work having discovered on a deep level the value of self-compassion.

I knew about self-compassion before, but it then became so important to me because of the compassion I was shown by other people. I knew that I wanted to move forward and focus the MindfulnessUK offer on mindfulness and compassion, and this is when I wrote the Integrating Mindfulness and Compassion (IMC) Qualification.

We have worked with 1000’s of students over the past 10 years, creating a unique teacher training organisation, educating, and empowering students and showing how mindfulness can support mental health and help people to thrive in their personal and professional lives.

The best thing about being the Senior Partner at MindfulnessUK, is that every day I work with a great team who share my vision; building a mindfulness community of practitioners and qualified teachers, sharing the transformational potential of mindfulness and compassion with others.

I cannot imagine my life without a mindfulness practice.  It empowers me to make choices on a moment-by-moment basis. It helps me to keep everything in perspective and to be more compassionate to myself and others, always.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stressful and extraordinary time for the team and the business. In the beginning, everyone cancelled everything, and it looked like that was the end of the road for us, almost overnight. But, instead of giving up, we realised how people would need mindfulness and compassion even more during and after the distress and grief caused by the impacts of the virus.

Therefore, we rolled up our sleeves and took all our courses and training online, as well as developing e-courses for CPD and offering free classes in meditation, movement, and compassion.  Our free classes had a donation option, and all proceeds went to the NHS.

We have been able to support thousands of people during this time, both directly and also through training others to teach mindfulness and compassion to their colleagues in the NHS, teachers, fire and police staff, carers and many more besides.

We’re incredibly proud of what we have achieved in 2020, being in a position to utilise our skills for the benefit of the mental health of those not only in the UK but internationally.  Specialising in teaching people suffering with pain, anxiety, and trauma I use my expertise to train others to deliver mindfulness and compassion in a trauma-informed way.

I am so passionate about what I do, and all of our teaching and training has my book, Compassionate Mindful Inquiry In Therapeutic Practice.  A Practical Guide for Mindfulness Teachers, Yoga Teachers and Allied Health Professionals, and iceberg model at its core.

I am incredibly lucky with all the support that I have, and I could not have created MindfulnessUK, and won this award, without the support of my wonderful team.  I am immensely proud of what we have achieved.

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