FAQs_Stourbridge 2017

Miracle of Mindfulness: Nourishing Happiness 2017

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does it cost to join the retreat?

Prices below cover accommodation and meals from supper on 24th to lunch on 29th August (inclusive).

Price category (see footnotes)
Single room £390.00
Single en-suite £440.00
Twin room (per person) £360.00
Twin en-suite (per person) £385.00
Dormitory £290.00
Non-residential £250.00
Personal Assistant £300.00
Teen (sharing with adult) age 13-17 inclusive on 24th August 2017 £180.00
Teen en-suite (sharing with adult) £205.00
Children aged 3-12 (inclusive) on 24th August 2017 £130.00
Children in an en-suite room £155.00
Age 0 – 2 inclusive on 24th August 2017 free
Bursary available – 20% off any category above**
Pre-retreat (for Order members and Aspirants only) £75.00
Bursary available for Pre-retreat up to 50%. Please see notes below ***
Pre-retreat en-suite £95.00



* Please note a non-residential place implies a commitment to attend the retreat from 6am to 10pm daily

**What financial support is available to attend the retreat?

** To make the retreat more accessible to people on low incomes we are offering a limited number of bursaries. This financial support provides a 20% reduction on the price of a room (a dormitory, single or twin room).

Financial support is intended for those who have a low household income and we have limited funds available.  We ask you to consider carefully that taking a low-income place when you can afford to pay the full rate may deprive someone more financially deserving of a place.

As a guideline, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation minimum standards for 2014 outline what constitutes low income. Income refers to gross annual income from any single or combined sources such as pension, wages and other earned income, tax credits and allowances, maintenance, investments, dividends, bank or building society interest.

These guidelines are:

  • for a single lone parent with one child: £27,100;
  • for a couple with two children: £40, 400 (combined);
  • for a single person of working age: £16,200;

Household income means the combined gross annual income of all adults that live together in your home.

If you are in receipt of any state benefits, simply send a copy of a current benefit letter or other evidence by email ( miracleofmindfulnessretreat@gmail.com) or post to:  Miracle of Mindfulness Bursary Application, 44, Main Street, Sudborough, Kettering, Northants. NN14 3BX. An individual may be in receipt of more than one benefit but we only need proof of one.

If you are NOT in receipt of any benefitsplease send a short summary of your situation explaining why you cannot afford the full cost of the retreat by email (miracleofmindfulnessretreat@gmail.com) or post to: Miracle of Mindfulness Bursary Application, 44, Main Street, Sudborough, Kettering, Northants. NN14 3BX . If you belong to a local group/Sangha, please check what support they may be able offer for you to attend.

***Bursary for Pre-retreat

We offer financial support of up to 50% (£37.50) off the normal Pre-retreat rate. Please bring your mindfulness practice to reflect on your need and let the bursary team know when you enquire how much you are applying for.

Can I offer financial support to those who cannot afford the full cost of the retreat?

If you would like to support others to attend the retreat and can afford to do so, we encourage you to be generous and offer a donation, in addition to the cost of your own room.

How do I book and pay?

Booking Online (closes at midnight on 10th August 2017)

Please book online if you can. Payment is by debit or credit card via a secure payments system. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Switch/Maestro cards are accepted. For information on protection and safety of your information please see our Privacy Policy.

Booking by post

To download a Postal Booking Form and Guidance Notes, please click on regular format or larger format. You can post a request for a postal booking form to: Miracle of Mindfulness Retreat 2017, 19 Windmill Rise, York YO26 4TU. Please include a 1st class stamped addressed envelope (A5, 23x16cm or larger).

To book by post, please complete and post the paper booking form along with a sterling cheque for full payment and an email contact address if you have one.  Please include evidence of low income or statement for financial support if required.

Postal bookings must reach us no later than 1st August 2017. Please allow at least a week for the post. We cannot be responsible for postal delays.

International bookings and payments

Please book and pay online by credit or debit card in Pounds sterling. We do not have facilities for accepting foreign currencies. Your card issuer will pay us in sterling and charge you in your local currency at the prevailing exchange rate. Alternatively you can book by post and pay by sterling cheque. Please do not send cash. If you can’t manage either of these, please contact the bookings team and ask about bank transfers.

Group/Family Bookings

If you are making a group booking please ensure that you book as a group and pay for all parties at the same time. Please note that children under 3 attend free.

If you are disabled and coming with a Personal Assistant, please book and pay at the same time, as a ‘group’. This will help us accommodate you in adjacent bedrooms.

If you have already booked you can add places for additional party members or Personal Assistant by following the link in your confirmation email.

Please note that, once you have booked and paid, you cannot make any changes to your booking, except to add another person to your ‘group’. If you need any assistance with your booking, please contact the bookings team

Booking confirmation

If booking online, you will receive a confirmation email shortly afterwards.

If booking by post, we will email a confirmation to you if you gave us an email address. Otherwise we will post a confirmation and receipt – this may take up to three weeks.

Please keep the confirmation for your records, and quote your booking reference number if you need to contact us.

How do I change my booking details or add people to my group booking?

The booking can only be changed by the person who made the booking. Please contact the bookings team to request any changes.

To add people to the group booking please use the link your confirmation email

I would like to sleep near a group who booked but we did not book at the same time. What should I do?

Additions to a group booking can only be made by the person who made the original group booking. So please ask the person who made the original booking to add you to their booking. This can be done up until 10th August 2017. After this date we cannot make changes. If they booked by post, please ask them to contact bookings team to add you to their party.

Please also see Terms and Conditions of Booking.

Life is pretty stressful, with money and time in short supply. How will I benefit from attending the retreat?

Being part of a community that is practising mindfulness together can be a refreshing and enjoyable experience. On retreat we practise slowing down and bringing more mindful attention to our everyday activities such as sitting, walking, eating, speaking, taking a shower etc. Such practices bring a sense of ease and spaciousness, and the ability to truly enjoy the time and activities we are engaged in.  We will grow in resilience and develop the capacity to meet the pressures of modern life with equanimity.

How many people will be on the retreat?

We can accommodate up to 300 people. The main activities will take place in the Foleyan Centre. There will also be a separate room nearby with a video link, available for late-comers, parents with younger children who need more space and those volunteers who may need to enter and leave while a talk or other event is happening.  Other rooms will be used for the Children’s and Teenage Programmes.

Will I be able to see and hear properly? What if I have difficulties hearing?

For those of us who need extra help with hearing there will be sufficient amplification and an audio system in the main hall.

There are no loop systems in the boarding houses. Please contact us by email or telephone 0300 772 9678 to identify how we may be help you, for example, by reserving a space in the dharma hall. We may be able to support you by your being placed in a sharing group room which benefits from a loop system but as this will be dependent on numbers, we regret that we cannot guarantee it.

What does a typical retreat day include?

Our theme on this retreat is nourishing happiness, and our programme will reflect that.  The schedule will include morning meditation, a daily Dharma talk, outdoor walking meditation, mindful eating, small sharing groups and evening meditation. There will be additional elements and a full programme will be provided at the event.  Our day will end at 10pm when we practise Noble Silence (talking based on necessity) until after breakfast the next morning.

The typical day looks something like this:

6:00  Wake up

6:30  Sitting and indoor walking meditation

7.30  Opportunity to exercise

8:00  Breakfast

9:30  Dharma Talk

12.00  Outdoor walking meditation

1:00  Lunch followed by personal time

3:30  Activity such as: Dharma sharing in small groups; Presentation on the practice of Beginning Anew; Presentation on the Five Mindfulness Trainings

6:00  Dinner

7:30  Activity such as: Sitting meditation and chanting; Total Relaxation and Touching the Earth

9:15  Sitting meditation

10.00 Noble Silence / rest

Can I come late or leave earlier than the identified start and end dates of the retreat?

We encourage all participants to attend the entire retreat. Please plan to be there from the beginning so as not to miss out on certain aspects of retreat life such as being introduced into a ‘family’ group right away for mutual support and friendship.

However, if truly unforeseen circumstances mean that your arrival will be delayed, please be reassured that of course you will be welcomed and supported in settling into the retreat.

What will the food and meals be like on the retreat?

Breakfast, lunch and a light supper will be provided each day and served in the dining hall. Breakfast and lunch will be eaten in silence, supper will be less formal and eaten with your Dharma sharing group ‘family’ when you will have the option of speaking after a short silence. We find that even the younger children respond to this if the adults are practising well, and accept that sometimes parents will need to speak to their children and can do so quietly.

Meals will be simple; vegan, free from meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. We will, however, provide dairy and egg options for children. Our chefs and catering staff will provide a balanced meal and will offer a gluten-free choice at each meal. We cannot, however, guarantee no cross-contamination as the food will be prepared alongside food, dishes, cooking pans and utensils containing gluten.

A member of the retreat team will always be available in the dining hall to help with any dietary issues that you may have and we will post the menu and ingredients of the dishes in the dining hall at every meal.

We regret that we cannot guarantee a nut-free preparation or eating environment, although it will be possible to select nut-free meals. We will try to accommodate all medical dietary needs but cannot guarantee this. Please ensure all medical dietary needs are listed on your booking form. We may not be able to cater to specialist dietary requirements and you may need to bring your own products and ingredients to supplement the food provided. All residential halls have kitchen areas which contain refrigerators.

What is provided in the bedrooms?

The rooms vary and are all simply furnished. Single rooms include a single bed and mattress, wardrobe, desk, table and lamp. Some rooms are twin rooms or dormitories with each person’s space furnished as above.

Please note you need to bring your own bedding:- a duvet, duvet cover, pillow and pillow case and sheet, or a sleeping bag. If this presents a difficulty, e.g. if you are travelling by public transport or have mobility issues, please let us know when you book. We can provide some bedding through the school and will let you know if this is not possible.

Hair dryers are not provided so please bring your own. There are electric sockets in each bedroom. If you’re coming from overseas, you will need a 220/240V adapter for your shaver or hair dryer.

All boarding houses have shared bathrooms and toilets on the same corridor as your bedroom. Some of the showers have only fabric curtains not lockable doors.

There is a small kitchen in each boarding house (not necessarily on each floor) with a kettle for making hot drinks. Please bring your favourite teas and a mug.

There are a number of single and twin en-suite rooms available at an extra cost. Please tick the appropriate box on the booking form if you require an en-suite room. Please ensure you book en-suite accomodation for your children if you are booking en-suite adult accomodation.

Can I be sure I’ll be allocated a room with my children?

You will book your family at the same time (as a ‘group’). All members of the group will be allocated in your own room unless you would like to share with another family. Dormitories have between 3 to 6 beds in them so you will not be sharing with other families unless you request this. For children under 3 years old please bring a cot and bedding for them to place in your own room.

Parents and carers should be aware that there are no locks on the doors, so there could be adults you don’t know in adjacent rooms. Children under the age of 16 should be accommodated in the same room as their parent or adult carer.

What is accessibility like at the school and the rooms?

Old Swinford Hospital School is on a hilly site, but there are wheelchair routes available between the main buildings (dining hall and practice hall) and some of the boarding houses. However, as this is a boarding school for boys, access to the boarding houses and accommodation within these boarding houses have not been designed bearing in mind those with disabilities. There are limited rooms suitable for those with mobility needs. We have reserved some accessible rooms at the nearby Premier Inn (less than a mile away) which are a suitable alternative for wheelchair users. Please contact the bookings team directly by email or phone 0300 772 9678 to enquire about booking these rooms.

On the campus there are three single ground floor rooms that only require a kerb to be negotiated. There are other single rooms in buildings that are entered by 3 steps. All single rooms have toilets and showers on the same floor. Please note that most of the toilets and showers are provided in communal blocks and many of the showers do not have lockable doors. There are 4 disabled toilets on site.

The boarding houses where we will be staying are 40 – 150 metres from the dining and practice halls, where all our meals and retreat activities will take place. If you have a mobility difficulty, please ask on the booking form for a room in the most appropriate boarding house.

There is limited parking on site and we will reserve the nearest spaces to our accommodation for those with mobility impairments. Please ask us on the booking form to reserve one of these.

If you have a disability and will be coming with a personal assistant (PA), please book at the same time as a ‘group’. We can then make sure that we can give you bedrooms close by. There are a limited number of places available at a reduced rate for PAs, but we are unable to provide an assistant.  The venue is able to accommodate guide dogs and hearing dogs if you have one. Please do let us know if you are bringing one.

How far is it between the boarding house and the main buildings?

It depends which house you’re in – they are between 40 and 150 metres to all the main buildings. It is a pleasant walk. If you are not able to walk, it is possible to use an electric buggy between selected boarding houses and the main buildings.

Is there free parking?

Parking on site is limited and we will reserve spaces for those with mobility needs as a priority. Anyone who wishes to park on site needs to indicate this on the booking form.  It may be necessary to find on-street parking for the duration of the retreat if you bring a car. We advise those who are able to travel by public transport or car share as much as possible.

Will there be childcare available throughout the day so that we can attend all the sessions?

Here are more details about this.

I have a disabled child in a wheelchair – can you accommodate us on activities and with childcare?

We welcome children with disabilities to join the children’s programme, but have no special training in these areas. Please contact the bookings team with details of your child’s situation and we will do our best to prepare.

Will there be a Wake Up programme?

This year it is not possible to offer a specific Wake Up programme but there will be a sharing group for Young Adults (age approximately 18-35). Please indicate on the booking form if you would like to be part of this.

Will there be people on site not attending the retreat?

There may be school staff on site during the retreat who are not part of the retreat but will all have a current DBS certificate

Are there any sports facilities nearby?

There are playing fields to which we have access on the school campus suitable for running, jogging and walking. We encourage participants to remain onsite to gain maximum benefit from the peaceful energy of the retreat community.

Where is the nearest doctor?

0845 4647 (NHS Direct) or 111.

Are there a cash machines / banks / chemists / other shops nearby?

The school is about 400M from the centre of Stourbridge. Here you can find a chemist, cash machines, banks and other shops.

What should I bring to the retreat?

We will send you a Welcome Letter that you will receive by email after 1st July 2017. This will contain relevant information. This information will also be posted on the website  after this date.

What’s the weather like in August? Do I need to bring waterproof clothing, heavy shoes or an umbrella? 

Hopefully it will be warm and sunny (you may want to check a weather website, such as the BBC or Met Office).  Weather forecasts are of course never certain, so you are advised to bring waterproof and warm clothing, heavy shoes and an umbrella. The paths we will be using for outside walking meditation may be muddy but the paths between the main buildings and boarding houses will be quite safe even in rainy weather.

Will there be a pickup service from the station/airport (etc)?

Stourbridge Junction train station is the nearest station and is about a kilometre away. It is on a direct line from London Marylebone. As this is only half a mile (10 minutes walk) from the School we will collect those with children or for whom this distance is too far to walk. Please note, you must arrange your pick-up prior to you arrival with the retreat booking team. Pick ups will be between 15:00 and 17:30 on Thursday 24th August for those booked beforehand. We regret we cannot collect anyone who has not requested a lift.

We will also provide return lifts to the station at the end of the retreat for those who have pre-booked. Please advise us of your train times as soon as you are able.

For the Pre-retreat pick ups will be between 15.00 and 17.30 on Tuesday 22nd August for those who have pre-booked this.

Are there any special conditions of booking?

By booking on the retreat, you automatically accept our Terms and Conditions updated on 11th January 2017. Please contact us if you would like a printed copy of this document.  

Can I bring flyers and marketing information for my events and business?

In order to support a peaceful atmosphere, as a contrast to our daily lives, where we are constantly inundated with sales information, we would very much appreciate it if you would not distribute publicity material about other events or business opportunities without prior arrangement with the organisers.

What do I do if my query is not here?

If your query has not been answered in these FAQs please contact our enquiries team by email (miracleofmindfulnessretreat@gmail.com) or phone 0300 772 9678.

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