-bringing ideas to life

 

 

 

 

 

Widening access to the Alexander Technique

report by Sue Fleming

The Trustees of AT Friends had no hesitation in supporting the project in the following report by Sue Fleming. We hope it might become a template for other similar projects which can take advantage of our status as an educational charity. If you would like to propose something in your area, please contact us.

As part of the Friends, three Manchester-based teachers - June Gill, Pauline Leng and myself, Sue Fleming - have worked to widen access to the ideas, principles and learning of the Technique. We were concerned that the Technique was known to a relatively small section of society and generally available only to those who could afford lessons. We wanted to open the Technique to more disadvantaged communities, to those without financial means, and those too fearful to take a first step into private lessons. To make this happen we needed to reduce our costs, by subsidising the teaching by giving our time at very low or no cost, and finding cheap or rent-free premises. As the aims were charitable, not profit-making, it was accepted for sponsorship by the Friends.

With the Friends as sponsor, it was possible to establish working relations with other charitable groups and to access resources available for community and civil society groups. As we aimed to work in one of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the Borough of Trafford, we were also able to obtain free workshop space through the Neighbourhood Management Partnership, set up to narrow the gap between disadvantaged and more affluent neighbourhoods. It also makes workshop and meeting space available for community and other NGO and not-for-profit organisations working for the community.

The two introductory workshops we ran were timed to increase accessibility: one was during the week, and another on Saturday morning. The workshops were for women so as to open them up to women who would not feel comfortable in a mixed group, including minority and ethnic women in the area. The workshop space was a known and safe space within the community. The resulting workshops were enjoyed by all, and we had time for a mix of activities to illustrate and describe the Alexander Technique, and for some hands-on work. The range of women that came was very encouraging. Many had not heard of the Technique before, and would not have come if the workshop had not been close to where they lived, and at a price that was affordable to them. Several have committed to longer-term classes, and others asked for similar half-day workshops in the future. Plans for future work in the area include discussions with the local community centre and library, and links with the black and minority ethnic communities who are already interested in follow-up.

Please contact Sue Fleming for more information.

 

  Sue Fleming 2009

 

Articles

  The Charity for the F Matthias Alexander Technique: Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales No. 3153329, Registered Charity, No.1053863