The Secret Space is a peaceful sanctuary in the heart of Hertford. We offer a range of yoga, from beginners’ classes to specialised classes, in various styles old and new. We also provide holistic therapies, including reflexology, acupuncture and massage. All equipment for classes is supplied, and we have yoga mats, blocks, belts, bolsters and much more available for purchase so you can practice at home.
At The Secret Space, we know the potential that complementary therapies have to change lives, as people learn to connect to their bodies in a relaxed and positive way. We think that it’s the perfect setting to help people and that is why The Secret Space is also a charity. We aim to give people who have overcome great difficulties in their lives the chance to partake in classes, receive therapies, gain relevant work skills and be part of an inclusive community. So when you use our service, you are not only helping yourself, but without even trying you are helping others.
Our charity aims to provide a welcoming space for everyone offering Yoga and Meditation, Pilates, Holistic Therapies and a programme of volunteer and training opportunities for people who have overcome great difficulties in their lives.
We want to help people live full and empowered lives, underpinned by a sense of wellbeing and community purpose.
The first plans for The Secret Space were formed in early 2013. Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) had approached CGL (then CRI, a charity providing local support for people with drug and alcohol problems) to set up three social enterprises , with a view to providing training opportunities and pathways to employment for their service users.
HCC were introduced to Nicky Kearns, who was working providing yoga and complementary therapies for CGL service users undergoing treatment for drug and alcohol dependency. Nicky saw the positive impact that a holistic focus on health was having supporting people who were actively engaged in changing their lives for the better.
Yoga and Holistic therapies have been used for a long time in this field, as they can assist people in overcoming the physical, mental and emotional strain associated with the recovery process, as well as aiding with safely releasing and processing trauma. Holistic therapies and yoga help people to learn how to relax without the need for substances or alcohol. They provide a tangible and healthy way for people to connect with their bodies, and with themselves, learning how to be present in the moment. With Nicky’s enthusiasm and the proven efficacy of a holistic approach to health being useful to people in recovery, the idea of setting up a holistic therapies and yoga centre as one of the three social enterprises proposed by the council was born…
Over the years we have seen people flourish in confidence, self-assurance and ever growing self-worth. We have worked with over 40 volunteers, some of whom are now incredible massage therapists and Reiki practitioners, as well as our amazing admin and reception team without whom our centre could not run. Many of our volunteers have gone on to find paid work, either at The Secret Space or elsewhere. We provide a free weekly yoga class for people who are in recovery, and through the kindness of our therapists we are also able to offer low-cost or free holistic therapy treatments to our team.
Most importantly, many of our volunteers have stayed healthy and safe, at least in part because of their connection to The Secret Space. As well as working with those in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, we also work with people who are in recovery from mental health problems, domestic violence survivors, and people with physical disabilities. The volunteers who work with us often become a part of The Secret Space community, sharing their talents with us, meeting people, taking the opportunity to learn yoga, receive holistic health treatments and to support their growth in many different ways. At The Secret Space, we help people to cross the bridge to normal living, giving them the confidence, skills, opportunities and experience to move into wider society, employment and forward with their lives.
I originally joined the Secret Space as a volunteer. At that time my life had been very chaotic and I was struggling to overcome serious health problems. Having previously had a successful career in a completely unrelated profession I had been unable to work for some time and was lacking direction and focus. After hearing about the project I decided to totally change my focus and retrained as a holistic therapist with the help of the Secret Space. With the support and encouragement of other staff and volunteers at the Secret Space I have undertaken professional training in a number of different therapies and am now in a position to work as a therapist. It is work that I love which allows me to meet a whole variety of people and genuinely help them. Every day is different and exciting. As well as meeting new people I have also been lucky enough to build a consistent client base of those I see on a regular basis. Having clients return to see me has massively boosted my confidence and also allows me to fine tune my treatments to each client as I have become more familiar with their needs. I am thoroughly grateful for the Secret Space and give thanks to all of the volunteers, therapists and teachers who work here. Without you all I genuinely don’t know how I would have got my life back on track.
From October 2012 to April 2015 I was an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital. In November 2015 whilst still a day patient at the same hospital I began working as a volunteer at the Secret Space where I still work today. The warm, friendly and supportive environment has helped me grow in confidence and prove that I can be a trustworthy, competent and reliable member of the team. This in turn has improved my self-esteem and has helped me remain well since leaving hospital, something you can’t put a price on! I love working at the Secret Space and hope to remain a part of this wonderful venture for the foreseeable future. I will always be grateful to the team for giving me a chance and for giving me my first steps back into the world of employment.
I started at the secret space about 3 to 4 years ago when I was a recovering addict. A recovering addict from heroin and crack cocaine. My friend Claire took me to meet a lady called Gabriella. Gabriella made me believe in myself because she said I am worthy of a normal life. She took me on as a Secret Space Volunteer and I was taught basic working skills like reception work, banking and talking with members of the public. She put her trust in me and from that I started trusting myself. If it wasn’t for the secret space I truly believe I wouldn’t even be alive and wouldn’t be the woman I am today. Today I stand a confident woman and drug free and a mother of a 17-month-old beautiful clever little boy. I am forever grateful for all the secret space has done for me. I stay involved and pop in to see my new family whenever I can. Please help to support The Secret Space so more people like me can find happiness and a new life.
Well, for me recovery has been a rocky road but I’d like to think I’ve weathered it! The Secret Space was a place that I was involved in from the start and the early days were not easy, but now we have this most wonderful community that I’d like to think provides a haven for all…whether its yoga, Pilates, meditation, massage, acupuncture, nutrition, reiki, volunteering…and the list goes on (apologies to anyone I’ve missed off!). I have been able to restart my life, to create a happy future and to make peace with my past. Being involved with the Secret space community has allowed me to rebuild my life, make amazing friends and be healthy. For that I will be eternally grateful and I would encourage anyone to get involved even if you’re not into yoga, it’s never too late for a ‘do-over’!
After struggling for several years with alcohol I started to attend CGL (formally CRI) in Hertford. Giving me the support I desperately needed enabled me to regain my self worth and focus on the future. One year on I became responsible for social and fundraising events, which were very popular, and also cookery classes. Whilst there I was introduced to The Secret Space, a social enterprise charity providing volunteer employment opportunities for people in recovery. Being accepted, the next 3 years I mainly did reception duties but due to the small staffing a lot of other things were included!! I was offered the opportunity to train as a Holistic Therapist, which was both an exciting and daunting prospect as it was many years since I had studied. After qualifying I continued to volunteer and also built up a client base. I had found an incredible and exciting new career and I embraced it and adding several affiliated treatments. Today I am self employed and will be forever grateful for the kindness understanding and incredible patience afforded to me from the management of Secret Space. This fantastic enterprise has given me, along with countless other people, the ambition and opportunity to achieve goals that had never been dreamed of before. During these unprecedented times we are all experiencing I know that friendship, encouragement and belief in people is paramount. I am trying to maintain a calm peaceful journey with meditation, yoga, a healthy balanced diet and continuous contact with family and friends. The personal tuition and classes being offered by the dedicated professional teachers of Secret Space during this period cannot be recommended highly enough. Not only do you get to enjoy and maintain your sessions but can arrange for times to suit your other commitments. Only by ensuring your own self care can you give your best to those you love. Wishing everyone to stay safe and healthy.
Volunteering at The Secret Space offers me a work opportunity in holistic therapies, which is a field I have grown a huge passion for in recent years. This follows a career change and so is providing me with valuable work experience, including administration tasks, money handling and giving massage and reiki treatments, to name but a few. This is an avenue, which I believe is unique to TSS and may have otherwise been closed to me as my work experience was previously in social care. I feel trusted responsible and accountable which are things I have struggled with while in active addiction. TSS is a safe space in which I feel I can do numerous things, including getting in touch with my spirituality, practising holistic therapies and learning new skills every shift. I feel connected to other people and to a charity, which is all about wellbeing, physically and mentally. This connection is vital as the anti-dote to my isolation and addictions. I feel part of a loving team. Feeling socially excluded when in my addiction and through mental health difficulties has been a huge part of my story so this is monumental for me. I have suffered with social anxiety in the past and still can. The secret space eases this because I have contact with various people, including other volunteers, staff, teachers, other therapists and clients. My confidence is growing and I hope this will continue to grow alongside this fantastic charity.
I came upon the Secret Space while I was at CGL (Change Grow Live) . They were offering a free class for anyone in recovery on a Wednesday and I started going. Before long I realised that one of the managers was a person who I had met while I was in rehab, and who helped me significantly in dealing with flashbacks from past experience by way of reiki and led meditation, which had a profound effect on my bad memories. I became a volunteer – reception, a bit of admin, watering the plants, welcoming people to the space, and generally just being so grateful to be able to spend time in a place with such a beautiful and loving vibe. The charity has sponsored me in becoming a reiki practitioner, I am first Aid certified, and even in lockdown there is a special class for us volunteers .
I first came upon The Secret Space when I was a placement counsellor at Spectrum in 2012. Once I qualified, I began hiring a room so I could carry out my private practice. The place has always held a warm space in my heart, as it offered volunteers from backgrounds of addiction and poor mental health, opportunities to learn new skills and qualifications. The staff and volunteers are always warm and friendly, keen to lend a hand and an ear for a good chat. I have seen people’s confidences rise as they develop inter-personal relationships and support one another. There were a couple times when I volunteered to offer sample sessions of reiki. This was such a positive experience, as people were able to have a taste of various complimentary therapies, which they may have never experienced before. Thank you to The Secret Space for offering such a nurturing environment for our community.