conservation, n. :
"the preservation of health and soundness, maintenance in good condition, act of guarding or keeping with care," from Latin conservationem (nominative conservation) "a keeping, preserving, conserving," noun of action from past-participle stem of conservare "to keep, preserve, keep intact, guard."
Brightstone Clinic opened its doors in February 2020. Before this, our community of therapists had been practising at The Hope Street Centre, located on Hope Street in the centre of Sandbach. When we learned Hope Street would be closing, we wanted to do everything possible to conserve what was good about the service and its offering, and keep providing a vital mental health and therapeutic support to the community of Cheshire and beyond.
Here is our story...
Hope Street had been established for over 20 years and had become a well-known and well-respected business locally: providing therapeutic support to thousands of people over the years, and building links with private and public sector organisations, children’s services, voluntary services and many individuals too.
When it was announced that Hope Street would close in January 2020, Jessica and Ann (two of the founders of Brightstone who also worked at the centre) explored numerous options to keep this vital service alive. Both felt that in closing Hope Street – and not have a similar service available – something of value would be lost. In conversations since, Jessica and Ann have likened it to the loss of diversity in ecological terms. Similar to the way that, if a forest loses beavers, the whole forest suffers. Just as beavers are a keystone species in the forest, Hope Street was a keystone service to the community.
The search began for a suitable building that would offer everything needed for a healthy therapy centre to thrive. Thriving can mean so many different things, and both Jessica and Ann were keen to look at now a new clinic could survive financially, but also exploring other types of capital such as social, community, educational and relational. They also wanted to build a clinic that continued to offer a diverse range of services.
Again, drawing on an analogy from the natural world: forests need diversity of species to survive. By offering a wide range of therapeutic services – including talking therapies, body work, nutrition and nature-based therapy – the right conditions are created for health and healing to take place.
The right building at the right time.
As ideas for the new clinic were being formed, the right building in the right location presented itself. It was perfect timing.
The building – which was previously home to CVS Cheshire East – is also based on Hope Street. It has five lovely rooms which were renovated to provide safe and nurturing therapeutic spaces, as well as a good-sized car park, and access for people who use wheelchairs. The building offered more possibilities than the previous one, with large rooms where group work and seminars could take place.
Not long after Brightstone opened, the pandemic hit, and we needed to adapt quickly to our changing world. Although were weren’t allowed to see our clients in-person, our therapists have since been working online, providing therapy and remaining available to support people with the challenges they are facing right now.
It has been a challenging first year, but, as we look to the future, we are forging new and exciting links with the local community and building relationships with therapists and therapy practices further afield.
We can see that we have, in many way, been through our own therapeutic process: recognising what needs to be let go of in saying goodbye to the old Hope Street business, exploring what was good and what needed to be conserved, and finding new life in new, healthier conditions.
We are also exploring how the clinic can continue to respond to the challenges that face our world right now, and are planning to remain resilient and available to support the community by utilising our experience and skill in the areas of mental health, wellbeing and resilience.
Written by the founders of Brightstone Clinic in February 2021.