Multi-Faith and Belief Chaplaincy, For All Faiths and None

Effects and Feedback

Effects and Feedback from year one of the Abundant Academy Programme, 2020-21.

The Abundant Academy was welcomed at the outset by students and staff, 70 of whom are participating in total. One staff member could immediately see how it would help her to support students better as well. Participants are telling stories of small moments of transformation: one said that doing the course was the longest time she had spent without looking at her emails or phone, another had taken the risk to go to the library despite feeling anxious about going out, all were connecting with one another through a What’s App group.


Out of the 57 participants who filled in the evaluation form, 77% reported feeling somewhat or very overwhelmed at the beginning of the course, and 73% depleted or somewhat exhausted with 64% saying that they felt anxious all or some of the time. By the end of the course 50% said that they were either flourishing or on top of things and 60% said they were abundant or energised with 90% saying that they felt calmer. 

A purple, green and yellow doodle with the text "Flourish!" beside it.


Participants had concrete examples of the difference that being on the programme had made to them:


"At work I was with a woman who was really upset, and I felt so touched that I am able to use what I’ve learned and give it someone in a positive way, and not in a way that I judge them. And I was so glad that I had learned just to listen and not try to fix."

Abundant Academy Participant


"It has made my day. I just feel amazing. I can put a smile on someone else’s face."

Abundant Academy Participant


"A week ago I was broken and beating up on myself. But after hearing what you said I have been much more loving to myself and it’s made all the difference. I’m a completely different person. And I’ve been able to be like that with others on my course too, and to treat them with love when they are trying to tough it out."

Abundant Academy Participant


More feedback from participants:


"I would highly recommend this course - it exceeded all of my expectations and has provided me with many tools to use throughout my life in the future."


"Before taking Abundant Academy I was wrapped in emotional, professional and personal overwhelm. The course helped me to put myself first, identify my strengths, needs, desires and priorities. Now I feel like I have clearer direction and a renewed sense of purpose and motivation."


"The Abundant Academy has been a real life saver for me. I feel it provided much needed solace, support and clarity of thought throughout the year, I genuinely connected with the teachings and with the cohort. The warmth, support and sense of welcome that Harriet and Steph instilled in the group was tangible and ran throughout the year. I really feel quite lucky, and blessed to have taken part. Also, I have raved about it to so many family and friends who do say they see a profound change in me, a change I attribute to this course. Thank you!"


"The course was a very positive experience. I looked forward to the fortnightly sessions. I would highly recommend to anyone, even if they think they have their life and work perfected already."


"I am so grateful for this course, it is something I didn't know I was looking for or needed and did question if I had the time which was ultimately what I realised I need to make time for - it was an absolute pleasure - thank you so much!"


"It was really hugely beneficial & I greatly appreciate the warmth generated by the course. It was a very welcome morning in the week. Thank you."


"I would definitely recommend the course. It felt like a relatively big time commitment but I came out of each session feeling like it was worth the time. Moreso, the overall progression of the course was really meaningful with each section building upon the next and culminating in what I felt to be a very fulfilled and empowered outcome."


"I'd recommend Ab Academy to others. To have the opportunity to reflect with others, and to be given the tools and space to do this, is hugely helpful particularly when many of us continue to be quite isolated in home working."


"Before taking Abundant Academy, I was susceptible to being carried along by life; often finding myself falling into spirals of anxious thoughts and living uncomfortably. The course offers space and companionship to listen, explore and talk. It has helped me to better understand myself (and others). It has given me insight into what might makes me and others tick and the various parts of myself. Now I recognise the importance and benefit of making time for reflection and one’s self, and the benefit that this brings to those around you."


"So useful to have the tools for analysis of our own behaviours. It was enlightening & inspiring to work on the ideas. I found it supportive to take part, especially during Lockdown. I have made changes & taken away many ideas."


A yellow, green and purple doodle with the text "Flourish". Beside it reads "The Abundant Academy, from the University of Edinburgh's Chaplaincy, is designed to enhance our perspectives and train us in habits of replenishment, reflection and collaboration so that we can move from overwhelm, freneticism, and feeling stuck, to refreshed and thoughtful momentum and fruitfulness. Find out more at Flourish celebrates replenishment and comes from Geoffrey Baines' colouring book Slow Journeys in the Same Direction.