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6 months at the Health & wellbeing centre at Dumfries House

Six months after it opened, Dumfries House’s Health & Wellbeing Centre is going from strength to strength

At the turn of the year, Dumfries House welcomed a state-of-the-art new addition to its estate with the opening of the Health & Wellbeing Centre. This new custom-built facility, which was opened by HRH The Duke of Rothesay, offers complementary therapy programmes and healthcare services and has already seen 250 participants start its programmes since January.

“We had been working on our group-based programmes for three years before opening this dedicated space six months ago, says Dumfries House Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Carolyn Paton. As well as a main room that holds around 20 people, the centre comprises six treatment rooms for individual therapies as well as a fragrant herb garden and yoga lawn that looks out over the surrounding countryside. “You arrive up a tree-lined avenue so you get the sunlight dappling through the leaves. It’s a lovely space that helps people become familiar with the environment, which keeps them relaxed and confident.”

The centre delivers four key programmes – weight management and diabetes, chronic pain, women’s health and fertility wellbeing – that are GP and patient-led, following referrals from primary and tertiary care providers. “We use complementary therapies such as reiki, reflexology, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, tai chi, yoga and emotional freedom techniques,” says Paton. “What we offer is a holistic way of looking at certain conditions. It’s about looking at a person as a whole – considering the mind, the body and the spirit.”

According to Paton, East Ayrshire is one of the more deprived areas of Scotland, with high unemployment, high numbers of children living in poverty and a lot of social and health problems. It is hoped that the centre will help these people to improve their health and wellbeing, boost confidence and decrease social isolation by offering a complement to the support that their GP and primary care teams provide. “The aim is to give people tools that they can take home to help them gain some control of their own health,” says Paton. “The users that have attended so far have found the programmes really beneficial to them and some carry on doing the mindfulness or hypnotherapy at home., They say they’ve become more open-minded and are embracing other ways to manage their health.”

The centre currently offers tai chi classes to the public on Wednesday afternoons, while the space can also be hired out as an education facility for special events, with the Bristol-based Penny Brohn cancer charity running a two-day course on site earlier in the year. And with 50 new participants expected to start programmes between now and the end of the year, the Health & Wellbeing Centre looks set to continue its sterling work bringing a pioneering approach to healthcare to the people of Ayrshire.

The Dumfries House Health and Wellbeing Centre, opened by HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay on January 22, 2019, was made possible by the generosity of The Pureland Foundation and the Gabriel and Christine Chiu Family Foundation.

The Prince’s Foundation Integrated Health and Wellness Programme. Patrons: Dr Gabriel and Christine Chiu

Words: Ben Olsen

Imagery: Sophie Gerrard