December 5, 2016 @ 16:01 by Alison Cowie
The Newcastle Meditation Centre, dedicated to the learning and practice of meditation, has been established on Newcastle’s Westgate Road. The concept started life three years ago as a small meditation group, but has grown so significantly that a dedicated resource has been created.
The three-floor meditation centre is being run as a social enterprise called Just Meditation CIC. As well as being open to the public for regular timetabled sessions, it is also looking to build links with corporate clients and the voluntary sector across the North East.
Just Meditation was founded by Reverend Nicholas Buxton, priest-in-charge of St John the Baptist Church on the city’s Grainger Street, and Ollie Batchelor, a director of a national charity based in the North East.
The centre is not affiliated to any religion or belief system, and a city centre site was deliberately sought to enable meditation to be accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
Reverend Buxton, who has practiced meditation for over 20 years, said: “We have run a meditation class for the past three years on Pilgrim Street but because it was so successful and kept growing, Ollie and I made the decision to create a dedicated resource. We knew instantly when we saw this building that it was what we were looking for. We have a lot of space here, which allows us to really expand the scope of what we are able to offer.
“We are a meditation centre that is just about meditation, hence the name. This isn’t a place that offers meditation classes alongside other things, and we aren’t affiliated to any other organisation, whether religious or secular – we are completely independent and just offer meditation in an environment that is welcoming and accessible to all.
“We are based very centrally which makes us easy to access, and we also believe that no-one should be prevented from attending our sessions because they can’t afford it, which is why we encourage people to contribute what they can rather than charging a set fee.
“Opening meditation up to people, whether they’re beginners or have practiced for years, is what we want to achieve and we look forward to welcoming people to our new centre.”
The commercial lease on Just Meditation’s new premises was secured by Newcastle law firm Sintons.
Sally Michael, solicitor in Sintons’ real estate team, said: “This is a unique venture for Newcastle and the fact it is the first independent high street meditation centre in the whole UK is a real coup for the city. We already have such a diverse and vibrant offering in Newcastle and the launch of Just Meditation complements that even further.
“We wish Nicholas and Ollie luck with their new venture and hope people take advantage of the chance to do something different in convenient, accessible surroundings.”