Heather Lodge: Social Enterprise

Arran’s holistic therapy centre develops as a Community Interest Company

Heather Lodge, in Brodick, is pleased to intimate its recent incorporation as a Community Interest Company.

Since 2017, the Heather Lodge team has aimed to provide conventional and holistic therapies of the highest quality, delivered by motivated professional therapists, complementing the work of statutory agencies, and cooperating closely with NHS health staff.

In addition to their regular work, where possible, we try to offer services free at the point of delivery. We operate using a ‘health’ rather than ‘recreational’ model and through partnering with statutory organisations and charities, are able to make meaningful improvements to the overall health and well-being of Arran residents and visitors alike.

We provide quality indoor and outdoor work spaces, supporting the careers and employment of over a dozen therapists. We are seeking funding to secure professional management, in order to grow our operations, expand the organisation’s social impact, and reach more people.

Use of holistic therapies to support and improve well-being is in the relatively early stages of implementation within mainstream health services in Scotland. Further work is necessary to improve integration of such support into NHS healthcare settings.

Heather Lodge enables the provision of treatments not readily available on the NHS, for Arran residents with special health needs. Our operations enhance resilience and self-sufficiency for the health and well-being of the Arran community. We help visitors to the island too.

Heather Lodge offers Arran facilities for delivery of a range of personal holistic therapies including massage, reiki, osteopathy, foot care, and fitness training, as well as counselling, CBT, and other psychological support. Also art psychotherapy for children. We provide group based holistic therapies for the community including yoga, green health care and support groups for cancer, MS and bereavement.

A series of educational workshops is planned, to be conducted quarterly, to supply resources and outreach, fostering the health and well-being of our community. Starting this initiative, Heather Lodge CIC is partnering with other local businesses to host a Holistic Retreat and CPD Training Event for Health Care Practitioners (HCPs), therapists (or indeed anyone interested in health) from 17th to 19th March 2023. More details here: https://www.heathergwenbird.com/the-summit

HCPs are attending from Arran, from other regions of Scotland, and further afield, offering an excellent opportunity for networking and peer-to-peer learning on Arran. In addition we will be show-casing the operating model of Heather Lodge and encouraging similar endeavours in other areas of Scotland.

We have been awarded a small package of funding from the North Ayrshire Skills Initiative Fund to strengthen this project, as well as support from NHS ‘well-being at work’ resources.

One in four people experiences a mental health concern in their life. Mental illness tops the global list of primary reasons for burden of disease. To reduce anxiety and other mental health disorders it is important that we promote lifestyle improvements and social support networks.

In partnership with the Mary Davies Trust, Heather Lodge was awarded funding from the Scottish Government’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund in 2022 to facilitate funding of ‘Getting There!’, a project delivered by Heather Lodge therapists. ‘Getting There!’ brought social prescribing to Arran, offering care and a range of out-door interventions, with the intention of reducing pressure on statutory services.

Heather Lodge CIC aims to serve the people of the Isle of Arran, seeking ‘the best possible life’ for residents, while creating a reproducible delivery model for other rural communities. In particular we are networking with people with an interest in social pre-scribing in other island communities. An online workshop on Monday 6th March may be helpful for those with an interest in this topic. Further details here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/social-prescribing-on-islands-tickets-558038547317

We currently have opportunities for volunteering at reception and in the Heather Lodge garden. We welcome private donations to assist us with our continued development and overall mission. We will also be happy to discuss sponsorship opportunities and joint working with other local businesses. Please get in touch with us at info@heatherlodge.scot or via www.heatherlodge.scot for further information.

Malcolm Kerr


Social Prescribing on Islands

Featured image shows the Heather Lodge Healing Garden. Credit: Heather Lodge