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Project information

Yoga Therapy for the Special Child (YTSC)

The YTSC programme offers both one-one yoga therapy and group sessions to infants, children and teenagers with wide ranging special needs including Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, ADD/ADHD. The programme demonstrates that no label can limit a child's potential for positive change.


Charity information: The Special Yoga Centre

The Special Yoga Centre logo
  • Need


    There is an absence of physical and financially accessible services offering holistic therapies to children and teenagers with both chronic and associated disability. As a the result this client group do not have opportunities to participate in physical and mental well being activities and have a threefold risk of suffering psychiatric disorders and social adjustment problems. Economic, communication and behavioural barriers often mean that suitable activities are not available.


    The YTSC programme offers services including individual and group yoga therapies in both a dedicated space and outreach locations all of which are accessible (financially and physically) and staffed by specialist yoga practitioners with the aims to enable and empower each child to reach their full physical, mental and emotional potential. Families, carers and teachers are supported and trained to continue the work outside the sessions which enables the benefits to be ongoing.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    We aim to help children with special needs reach their fullest potential physically and emotionally.


    » We do this by providing individualised yoga therapy, making groups age and ability appropriate and offering one to one sessions and follow up work.

    What success will look like

    Success will be receiving monitored outcomes (questionnaires) from parents/teachers and where appropriate, the children, evidencing development and improvement in these areas.

    Aim 2

    To help families of children with special needs to access our centre and outreach locations.


    » To offer sessions where appropriate on a donation basis, flexible times including evenings and weekends and fully disabled access and facilities.

    What success will look like

    Success will be servicing the current level of demand as well as being able to provide extra group and individual sessions on to meet increasing demand in other areas.

    Aim 3

    To provide support for parents and carers who are often under high levels of stress and pressure.


    » We do this through informal/formal support groups, encouraging participation in donation based yoga classes and training sessions for home practice.

    What success will look like

    Success will be maintaining the ethos of a donation based service for adults and being able to meet demand for group support and yoga classes for adult respite purposes.

    Aim 4

    To support the vision in the governments 'Children Plan' to make the UK the best place for children


    » YTSC is placed to promote and develop mental, emotional and physical well being and enable participation that is sensitive to special needs.

    What success will look like

    Success will be receiving national recognition or accreditation that this aim has been met.

    Aim 5

    To work with health sector, local authorities and schools to improve knowledge of yoga therapies.


    » Integrating into schools, play schemes, local authority events and outreaching to healthcare professionals and therapists for referrals.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrating a regular flow of referrals from the health sector and evidencing activities in more schools and local authority schemes.

  • Impact


    Our monitoring shows that children have increased concentration, communication, calmer states and the ability to self regulate themselves emotionally, as well as increased strength and flexibility. Once a child and parent have learned the tools that yoga gives through simple movements, regulated breathing, and deep relaxation, the family is able to use these daily to improve the quality of their lives. Success is demonstrated by by the sustainability of the changes evidenced by our monitoring.


    The risks to this project are that fundraising targets will not be met and so the services will not be available at a level to meet the demand. If this does transpire, the service will have to be scaled back to provide only at a level that the funding will sustain until other sources of income can be found.


    Donors will be communicated to by regular newsletters /email bulletins, information on the website and invitations to donor events at the Centre where there will be communication about the project and its outcomes.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £200,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £128,500 Yoga Therapists 2570 Individual or group therapy sessions
      £29,000 Monitoring/Eval Monitoring and Evaluating the work
      £29,000 Salaries SN Co-ord, Exec Director, Accountant
      £13,500 Overheads Occupancy Costs & Office Expenses

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    K.I.Osbourne £1,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    We are based in Brent which is within the 15% most deprived local authorities in the country. It has one of the lowest ave annual incomes in London and largest proportion of ethnic minorities. The Centre also works with other London boroughs by offering outreach programmes. Currently the Centre is offering yoga therapy in 15 London boroughs.


    Children with special needs living in Brent and across London, from low-income families. We see families from many different religious and cultural backgrounds. Many boroughs in which we work are culturally diverse. For example (BME) ethnic groups in Brent now make up the majority of the population at 54.7%, according to GLA projections. Brent’s population has a relatively young age structure with 25% of the population being in the 0 to 19 range.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are the only charity of our kind offering yoga therapy to children with special needs and successfully work in approx 30 schools across London as well as providing one-to-one yoga therapy at the Centre. We see 500 children a week and the results of our monitoring and evaluation, and the testimonies of the children, teachers and parents show just how valuable and significant the work that we do with these children and families is.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jo Manuel

    Founder and Executive Director of The Special Yoga Centre and leading authority on yoga therapy for children with special needs.

    Jessica Nash

    Special Needs Co-ordinator. Jess has relevant professional skills, qualifications and experience to deliver this project successfully.

'We believe that all children are special, and that no label can define or limit a child's potential for positive change.'

Jo Manuel, Founder & Executive Director, The Special Yoga Centre