Iris said thank you on Saturday 21st March to all our volunteer massage therapists and our partner Organisations, by hosting an Iris Education and Well-being day at the Quaker Meeting Hall. The Voluntary Action Fund grant had enabled us to run an Iris Volunteer Massage Therapists Scheme for a year, and it has been a great success with 18 therapists placed with a wide variety of cancer support projects and services in many settings. The partner Organisations and therapists have all worked very hard to ensure the success of this service.
The aims for the day were to provide new learning experiences through a guest speaker from the complementary therapies cancer care profession presenting , offering a a range of workshops and to gather the team together to share experiences and connect .
Iris was very fortunate that Peter Mackereth, Clinical Lead Complementary Health & Wellbeing Services , The Christie agreed immediately to come and be our guest speaker, and offered a bonus of a specialist workshop on supporting clients with breathlessness! He travelled from Manchester on the day.
On the day 50 guests came. most of whom are Iris massage therapists who offer some volunteer massage in their portfolio. Representatives also came from our partners at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary Oncology Unit, Marie Curie Edinburgh, St Johns Hospital cancer support centre, Wester Haven cancer support centre, Edinburgh ,Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, Glasgow and Strathcarron Hospice. Some of the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, therapies team also came along. Angela Secretan heads up the team and also runs the Iris 5Day Hospital Intensive Course and some of her therapists assist on the training.
It was a fabulous day, everything went smoothly and all the workshop leaders and Peter did a wonderful job. The energy from the start was buzzing with warmth and laughter and lots of conversations, Lorna arrived at lunchtime and said walking in the positive happy feeling was very visible everywhere.
Highlights? Where to start. Once the first workshop finished people were realising this was going to be a lovely relaxing day of nice experiences, not work, their relaxation and socialising began. It was lovely to see that process, my role that day meant I was observing, taking the overview, and I saw everyone ease into enjoying themselves.
Peter was the dream guest speaker, so entertaining, informative, funny, occasionally wonderfully irreverent and generous in his sharing about the services he has built up with his team, running the wellbeing and complementary therapies services at the Christie. Everyone was so inspired by his presentation , they headed straight into lunch buzzing with it all.
Lunch was great , thanks to the venue for that and the prize raffle , raced through in ten minutes, thanks to Rosie for drawing the tickets ,made all the prize winners happy.
The afternoon workshop on breathless and teaching tools to help was a great success, again thanks to Peter's excellent engaging presenting skills. We learned straw breathing, mindful moist mouth, raising our veins, lung press acupressure points, using the little stretchy yellow man amongst others! Peter received a very long round of applause from everyone and in all the evaluations given in at the end of the day comment was how brilliant he had been and how much everyone had learned.
I gave a short presentation about the Iris Volunteer Massage Therapist scheme and then the Level 1 and Level 2 enamel badge presentations took place for all the therapists who have achieved this level and registered. Much applause and pride for their achievement and reminder and sense of being part of the Iris therapist team .
The day ended with the surprise fun element, the belly dancing workshop.! A few guests had seen the dancers getting ready and disappeared but most stayed and it was the best fun, all the shimmying sounds of 40 or so belts and the roars of laughter and delight as folk started to get the moves. We even had 3 of the therapists sitting as judges giving their Strictly Come Dancing scores . It was a great way to end and folk left on a real high with their Certificates of Attendance and little gift bag of an aromatherapy chocolate, massage oil blend ,bath melt and a purple , of course, nitelite.
Most of the guests made a point of emailing me after the event to convey their thanks and appreciation for such an excellent day with many requests for same next year please!
We hope so!!