Are you well enough to be on Retreat?

Our primary concern in considering whether or not someone is well enough to be on retreat is their own wellbeing. However, when you come on retreat we also ask that you at least have a reasonable expectation of being able to fully participate in the programme. The following notes may help you work out whether or not this is realistic. If you think you may need specific conditions or support please feel free to discuss your needs and concerns with our office team (01825 732 594). Any information given will be treated in confidence will be shared with the team leading the retreat, and other members of the Rivendell team only on a need to know basis, and where possible with your prior consent. This is to give you the best possible support.

The list below covers the sorts of areas of concern people sometimes bring up with us and the sorts of things we may ask people to consider.

1. Infectious diseases.

1a. Covid-19

2. General health issues.

3. Physical limitations and/or disabilities.

4. Emotional distress and vulnerability.

5. Mental Health issues.

6. Addictions, withdrawal and recovery


1. Infectious Diseases

For your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of other people on the retreat (some of whom may be immuno-suppressed or otherwise vulnerable to infection) please do not come on retreat if you have, or believe you may, have an infectious disease. If you are unsure of the level of risk please consult your GP. Please note it is very unlikely that we will be able to provide single room accommodation or special support at the last minute. Also, please do not attend a retreat if you are suffering from a cold, as they quickly spread to others within a retreat context.

1a. Covid-19

Please go to this link for specific information about Covid-19:

2. General Health Issues

If you have a stable underlying medical condition but may require special conditions or support during your retreat, then please call the office (01825 732 594) to discuss these prior to booking so we can clarify what support you may need and whether or not we can reasonably provide it. The single room and downstairs room may be available but should be agreed with the office team prior to booking.

If you have food allergies or other medical dietary requirements please let us know when you book so we can ensure appropriate arrangements have been made.

Please ensure you have enough of any prescribed medication you need to cover the entire duration of the retreat.

If you have an unstable medical condition, and there is the possibility that you may need to see a doctor whilst on retreat, please bear in mind that local surgeries are extremely reluctant to let you see a local doctor if you are not registered at that practice. In our experience, it is almost impossible to get a local doctor to come out to Rivendell. You will most likely need to go through NHS Direct who will assess whether to send a doctor out or not. This can take up to 6 hours or more and may end in the recommendation that you go to A&E instead. Retreat team members are not medically trained.

Please note that  if you normally receive care at home, are looking for convalescence, or are unable to self-medicate, then a retreat may not be the best place for you as we will not able to replicate these levels of support.

3. Physical Limitations and/or Disabilities

Rivendell is housed in old Victorian rectory which can unfortunately create access issues for some people. We currently have one shared downstairs bedroom, which has the use of a bathroom 9 metres along the hallway. This bathroom has an 8cm step up to the shower which also has a seat and handrails and also has a toilet with handrails. Wheel chair ramps can be put in place, if needed, as outside access on all external doorways is up one or two steps. There are handrails on all steps. Some doorways inside the house are 70cm wide. The shrine room is situated in a separate building 12 metres from the main house. The grounds are on a hill and are accessible via steps with hand rails. The main lawn directly outside the house is accessible to wheelchair users. For those with hearing-aid there is a hearing loop installed in the shrine room and main lounge. Please speak to a member of the Rivendell team at the time of your booking for more detailed information and to discuss your needs whilst on retreat.

4. Emotional Distress or Vulnerability

Most people at some point in their lives suffer from some sort of emotional distress or vulnerability. In most cases retreats can help and the tools we learn on retreat can be beneficial in coping with emotional difficulties in your life. Please be aware however that retreats are not therapeutic environments and, although many of our retreat team members will be able to offer helpful support, they are not counsellors or therapists and the amount of time they can offer you will be limited. Please also be aware that the content of the retreat may be challenging to you and on retreat you will be around other people quite intensively - sharing a bedroom, participating in a collective programme, a change of diet and sleep patterns, etc. Please consider whether or not this kind of environment will be helpful to you or not. There is only one single bedroom for each retreat and must be agreed when booking.

5. Mental Health Issues

Mental health covers a wide spectrum of issues. Having a diagnosed mental health condition or a suspected mental health condition does not mean you cannot come on retreat, particularly if your condition is stable, and you are used to managing your life independently and being around people. However, for some conditions, being away from your familiar environment and in intensive contact with other people can represent a risk of relapse. If you require help and support at home to manage your condition or organise your life, then a retreat may not be the best place for you. Meditation is not helpful for those experiencing any kind of psychosis.  Please note that we do not accept referrals from health professionals.

If you have a diagnosed or suspected mental health condition, please call our office to talk over your needs to make sure being on retreat is really going to be the best thing for you. We may also ask you to talk to a member of the team running the individual retreat you want to book on so they can discuss whether they are able to appropriately support you.

6. Addiction, Withdrawal and Recovery

A retreat is not a suitable environment to withdraw from drugs or alcohol. Before coming on retreat an addict in recovery should be free from dependence and free from any medication they have used to support their recovery. Recovering addicts who have achieved this level of independence may of course find the environment offered by being on retreat a supportive condition for moving forward in their life. A retreat can also be a challenging experience so please give very careful consideration as to whether it is appropriate to use your retreat as an opportunity to give up smoking. (Smoking and vaping are not permitted anywhere on the retreat centre site.

We hope this guidance has been useful. If you are in any doubt as to whether or not a retreat is appropriate or whether we will be able to adequately support your needs, please call our office (01825 732 594) to talk it through with us.