We are a CIC now!

We have some wonderful news for you: The National Centre for High Sensitivity (NCHS) has recently become a Community Interest Company (CIC!)  You may appreciate what this means for us HSPs in the UK, if we write here a bit about our humble origins, as an organisation that supports highly sensitive people.

The National Centre was founded by Barbara Allen- Williams, to provide accurate information about the trait of high sensitivity (sensory processing sensitivity – SPS), for HSPs themselves, professionals and those they come into contact with; and to provide HSPs opportunities to meet others like themselves in a suitable environment. Barbara started a Meetup in Winchester for highly sensitive people in 2009, and by 2010 had founded the beginnings of the NCHS. The growth of the National Centre has been slow and organic since then, which mainly has to do with the limited resources we had. With most of its funding coming from profits of Barbara’s private practice, Growing Unlimited Therapeutic Consultancy, the NCHS has been focusing on providing links, resources, connection and training about the highly sensitive trait. Becoming a CIC (Community Interest Company) means that we will be able to seek funding over the next 12 months from various sources to develop our services for HSPs throughout the UK.

I am only one, but I am one.With more funding, we want to continue to fill our website (www.hspsensitive.com) with relevant books, resources and links. Ideally in the next two to three years, we would like to establish at least one HSP Monthly Meetup in every county in the UK, with facilitators trained by the NCHS. We want a comprehensive and searchable directory of NCHS-trained counsellors and other professionals for both sensitive adults and children. This is in its infancy at present and you can see more about how you could join this in this newsletter.

We want to progress our educational and training arm, so that training is available to more professionals. Our training for introducing professionals to the highly sensitive trait is CPD, quality checked by the National Counselling Society. It is currently available either at our head office in Andover, Hampshire, or can be provided in-house for organisations on request. A charge is made currently for this, however, we are seeking funding to allow us to make a heavy subsidy for this training, particularly for charitable or other not-for-profit organisations. We also wish to extend our workshops, walks, retreats and events for HSPs, so that they can find support for their social and personal development and career ambitions. With the help of Dr Elaine Aron, we will also be seeking to collaborate on research projects related to high sensitivity and within three years hope to host a conference for both research summaries and for professionals seeking further understanding of this genetic trait. Probably one of the most important of our aims, is to continue to provide support and encouragement to parents of highly sensitive children around their normal home and school needs, as well. This is how we can support future generations of HSPs to be more at ease with who they are and be able to fulfil better their essential role in our society.

barbara_allen-wCurrently, the NCHS are just a handful of enthusiastic volunteers mostly, who are passionate about supporting highly sensitive people and raising awareness. With more funding coming in hopefully in 2018, we will be planning to expand our workforce, as well. This is a significant and necessary step, in order to be able to fulfil our ambitions to expand what we can do for HSPs all over the country, and maybe even further afield. 2018 is looking to be an exciting year for stepping forward and growing towards becoming the kind of organization that we have been wanting to be for many years 🙂

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: accounts@hspsensitive.com)
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Thank You for getting us this far!

Any organisation that depends on donations and grants, knows that the dedication and support of volunteers or benefactors makes all the difference as to whether a project moves forward. I want to draw attention to the valuable assistance offered over the years by volunteers who have played a number of roles and also those who have given donations, both small and bigger. I know those who have given donations often feel shy, so I’m not going to name them here, but they know who they are and I hope they know their help has made a difference.

Volunteers of course, can’t hide! We see them or hear from them from time to time as they make their contribution. Here are just a few of the people, whose time has helped to give the National Centre for High Sensitivity and its members, the support and opportunities needed:

Gratitude is the heart's memory. Thank you very much.Ildiko – currently on sabbatical, but still editing our Newsletter and a constant support for me in the background, thank you!
Meetup faciitators – Tony in Brighton, Glenna last year in the Professionals group, Cindy in north Berkshire, Helen and Michelle in Glasgow (just started), Shyron and Helen in Exeter, Chris in Reading. Alan who has run yoga meetups for us and HSP games and offered HSP Walk and Talk sessions, Caroline who has organised our HSP Group Walks and is also one of our Walk and Talk volunteers, Christine who ran an HSP art workshop for us, Jordan who helped create our new NCHS website as well as funding some of it, and Rosie who offers help from time to time in terms of research. Lastly but not least, Suzie who has joined us recently as a volunteer to help with ideas to spread information to those who need it.
PLUS, all the HSPs who have given their time or favours in little ways that are often invisible, yet make a difference all the same.

There are a couple of people who are not HSPs, but who have been helpful to me and as a consequence, our NCHS. My husband who has helped with accounts and filling out complicated CIC forms, (and not least, has donated the money to pay the fee for the CIC to be registered and processed professionally!); my mother-in-law who has encouraged me to keep going and my life-long friends who console me when I think I can’t carry on and cheer me on when I am inspired to push forward another step with the vision of seeing a UK service in place.

barbara_allen-wThank you to all who have ever offered your encouragement and support. It really has made a difference both to myself and those who have benefited from the HSP services that have been offered so far.

Lets hope that funding organisations will feel the same positivity about this project and that we will see some financial support coming in during 2018 🙂

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: accounts@hspsensitive.com)

Regular NCHS group walks for HSPs

Hello fellow HSPs 🙂

I am delighted to announce that the NCHS is now offering more regular group walks. HSP Caroline has done a sterling job facilitating these, so I have asked her to make it a regular monthly thing. The locations will vary and go further afield at times, but will still have that HSP-friendly energy that HSPs have loved. You will be able to see the walks on our Meetup calendar for events in Hampshire.

If anyone in other counties in the UK would like to run one of these for us, do contact me and I will see what we can do to support another regular walk opportunity.

barbara_allen-wPlease note that you will need to RSVP and pay in advance from now on our Meetup site (£3.50 currently). We have previously had a little difficulty collecting the small sum of cash on the day – some have forgotten to pay or come without cash on them. We really do depend on the contributions to help keep events running. If you cannot pay by PayPal, let me know and I will give you the online banking details. Alternatively, send a cheque and I will RSVP you from this end once a I receive it (payable to ‘Growing Unlimited’, Annadell House, Clatford Lodge, Andover, SP11 7DH).

Enjoy your walks, I hope to join you from time to time 🙂

Best wishes,

Barbara

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: accounts@hspsensitive.com)

The Highly Sensitive Person – CPD for Professionals

sensitiveboy-smallWould you like to be able to help more of those minority of people who could be the majority of your clients? It is not widely known that almost half of therapy clients have sensory processing sensitivity according to Dr Elaine N Aron. The NCHS is often running a CPD training for therapists, coaches, educators, social workers, health care professionals and others who work with highly sensitive clients. We will look at what sensory processing sensitivity is, how we can identify a client with this trait and ways of working that are effective and appropriate for this client group. All information is based on the seminal work of Dr Elaine Aron, renowned research psychologist and Jungian analyst.  Professionals attending this course can get a free entry to the HSP support directory on the NCHS website and also referrals from the NCHS, as many HSPs approach us to link them to professionals aware of the highly sensitive trait. You can find out more about this training (quality checked by the National Counselling Society) at our last CPD held for professionals. Please also consider forwarding details on this training to any professional or organisation that would benefit from understanding more about highly sensitive people.  ildiko_davisThis training day can be presented at your own venue, in most parts of the country, if there are at least 10 people attending. We would especially like to arrange this CPD in London, since this is where we receive most enquiries from clients looking for appropriate counsellors and other professionals. Please enquire more about this from Barbara Allen – Williams.

Written by Ildiko Davis (e-mail: ildiko.davis@yahoo.co.uk)

Then, Now and the Future of NCHS

Hello to everyone, HSPs, HSP Professionals, HSP supporters, young and blossoming HSCs :).  Another year has flown by since the inception of this fledgling group here in the UK in 2010.  So much to do and so many ideas about how these things can become real and permanent.  One thing I do know, is how heart warming it is to see more and more highly sensitive people out there, doing their bit to increase awareness, discovering more about our trait and above all, truly valuing and enjoying what our trait is all about.  Our Meetups continue to be available to HSPs wishing to engage in person or online for a small annual subscription but as ever, we would love to increase the availability of these events to others in the UK by training and supporting volunteer NCHS Meetup facilitators in other parts of the UK.

My sincere thanks go out to those who have stepped forward to volunteer their time and energy to do a variety of supportive work around promoting awareness and supporting other HSPs to find themselves, in particular volunteers, Cindy, Helen, Shyron, Chris, Glenna, Luchi, Astrid, Tony, Alan, Caroline and anyone else who has helped in the background.  I am also so grateful to Ildiko for her continued support (from abroad during her sabbatical), maintaining a list of HSP Professionals who have attended our NCHS training days, writing and editing our Newsletter.  There are so many things I could never have pushed forward without Ildiko’s help, belief and encouragement.

New things that we have put in place this year include the ’Numinous’ days – set up to provide a place of engagement and support for those HSPs who have roles in supporting other HSPs, whether at work or at home.  This has been a pleasure to facilitate and I am grateful to all of them for what they do ‘out there’, often in isolation.  We have also launched a monthly ‘HSP Parlour Online’, where HSPs from any part of the UK or in fact the world, can join each other for a virtual tea and chat about HSP topics together.  This has been great fun and enlightening as people share their questions, answers and ideas around things that are of interest to highly sensitive people in a relaxed setting.  We have covered many topics, but the abiding thing that we have all got from this event is the feeling of solidarity, integrity and humour that lifts the spirits when one is engaged with others with that HSP energy.

It has also been a different kind of year for the National Centre for High Sensitivity.  Whilst so much is happening, and needs to happen in the world in respect to more awareness and acknowledgement of high sensitivity, it has also been somewhat challenging here at NCHS home due to continuing illness, changing domestic responsibilities and shortage once again of on-site admin support.  Hopefully this will improve in 2017, all things in their own good time I’m sure :).

Further meetups, events and opportunities will be added to our Meetup.com sites here in the UK soon, and you will see all of them together on the Events page at www.hspsensitive.com.

  •  We have plans to increase the number of ‘Walk and Talk’ opportunities that we offer.  Some of you have taken advantage of these already and from feedback provided, we know it is helpful and that more of you would like to use it.  Do contact myself, Alan or Caroline if you would like to do a ‘Walk and Talk’, we will assess your need, explain what it entails and there is a fee, but it’s well worth it.  We would also welcome you to apply, if you would like to offer this service to other HSPs (assessment, training and support provided to volunteers) – just contact me at the NCHS.
  • We are thinking about some short residential events, where you will gain information, awareness and support, and others where you will simply be encouraged to relax and spend time in HSP-friendly pursuits or rest and recovery.  One or two of these events may need practitioners there to offer various support or relaxation activities.  [If you would like to attend and also offer something useful to others (something short or small is fine), a discount will be available for the event.  Please talk to me about it.]
  • I am planning on doing more talks for organisations, schools and interest groups this year, so if you know any organisations that would benefit from understanding more about highly sensitive people, do put them in touch.  They will be asked to give a donation to support NCHS work, but there is no specific fee.  Please bear in mind that if the venue is far away from Andover, my travel/accommodation costs will need to be taken into consideration :).
  • I really want to do an event for Parents of highly sensitive children this year.  Ideally a whole day.  I haven’t decided yet, if it will be just for the parents, or whether there will be an opportunity for HSCs to attend and do other activities while the parents are learning about high sensitivity.  Anyone who would like to help, let me know.  Please make sure you are willing to commit, once the event is scheduled it has to go ahead :).
  • As mentioned above, we have plans to increase the number of counties within which we offer HSP Meetups.  Do help us identify where there are: enough interested HSPs to attend a Meetup;  a suitable venue; someone local who would be happy to liaise or even attend training to get a Meetup started and running regularly.

barbara_allen-wDo let us know if you have any ideas of something the NCHS could be doing and if you would like to volunteer some support or funding.  I hope you will enjoy what is on offer next year and I look forward to seeing those of you who will attend our future events :).

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: hspsensitive@hotmail.com)

What is happening at the NCHS

It’s been a year of challenges and achievements in the face of struggles here at the National Centre for High Sensitivity (NCHS). The topic of high sensitivity is becoming more talked about, especially when we take information into schools and there is such a lot to do ‘out there’. Health issues, both of myself and a close friend have made it necessary for me to step back somewhat for a few months and this has been very frustrating, knowing what needs to be done and having to rest nevertheless.

Fortunately for me, Ildiko (Newsletter Editor and much more!) has kept her finger on the pulse and filled in some of the gaps on my behalf (thank you so much Ildiko). She has also been a great support to me and kept me motivated throughout some tough times.

The National Centre for High Sensitivity has been very lucky in that some of the people who have attended Workshops and other events in the last couple of years have been inspired to begin working on projects aimed at children, parents and young people. It may be a while before we see the fruits of this, but its good for you to know there is some work going on around this.

In the meantime, it has become clearer that Mentoring for HSPs is a vital service and we are happy to offer that and to continue to support others to do so. We offer Professional Training to anyone wishing to learn more about how to adapt their support work with sensitive individuals. Mentoring is different from counseling because it involves sharing ideas, skills and support in a way that gives more freedom in terms of time and the type of help that can be offered. It is not ‘therapy’ but often feels ‘therapeutic’.

Some of the HSPs who attend our Meetups and Events have a lot of experience in finding ways forward, meeting challenges, living authentically and healthily in a world where we are often put under pressure to live differently than is natural to us. One of our popular types of Mentoring is the ‘Walk and Talk’ mentoring that takes place on a peaceful walk. We need more Mentors, Counsellors and ‘Walk and Talk’ practitioners in our directory so that we can put people in touch with other supportive HSPs in their locality. HSPs pay for these services and if you are suitable, self-aware, reliable and would like to train with us, do let us know.

My next task is to re-start the NCHS calendar and begin adding things into the diary again. I receive numerous requests from HSPs for various events in their locality, but often find that we don’t have enough people to be able to create an event for them – an example of this is Manchester where we would love to provide a Meetup, a Workshop and a training event, but where we don’t have enough people to be able to cover our costs for a venue and travel as yet. That being said, we are still looking at ways to spread the support and facilities we offer at the NCHS as wide as possible – my dream is to have a regular monthly HSP Meetup happening in every county in the UK – maybe this will happen one day.HSP Rest and Recovery Retreatbarbara_allen-w

In the meantime, I keep putting one foot in front of the other and am so grateful to be meeting lovely HSPs from all walks of life as I go about this important work. I am looking forward to another year pushing this project forward and will update you when we have any further news of interest .

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: hspsensitive@hotmail.com)