"What is the bravest thing you've ever said?" asked the boy.
"Help," said the horse.

Quote from the book The Boy, the mole, the fox and the horse by charlie mackesy

chat 1st news


Chat 1st and Chat 1st Youth are no longer trading.

Two years ago we embarked on a brand new project for our community under the name Chat 1st. We recognised
very quickly during the covid pandemic period that people were suffering from lack of social interaction, physical activities and poor mental health. And so our journey began.

We used Zoom in the beginning to bring online Adult Yoga and Tai Chi, Youth Yoga and Youth Boxing sessions to those that needed it, and this then progressed to the face to face classes with the familiar instructors and peer support workers, following government relaxation rules after Covid.

Over these last two years we have succeeded in getting members of our community out and about again, socialising and exercising to improve their general wellbeing and mental health.

Two years on and with the growth of mental wellbeing groups throughout Essex, we are now in a position to hand our projects over to sustainable local organisations.

We would like to say a massive thank you to you all for your support with our programmes and we hope that some of you can still benefit from the clubs that are listed below which will continue under the guidance of our recognised instructors and volunteers.

Thank you from the Chat 1st Team

For Adult and Children Mental Health Services Across Essex, please visit The Essex Community Tree Website – www.essexcommunitytree.net


We have enjoyed seeing the community gardens come into fruition at St Peters Church in Hutton and St Stephens Church in Ingrave and the community walk in Brentwood is a necessity for a lot of people. We are happy to say that the garden projects will continue as volunteer led community groups and the regular days and times will stay as they are.

 St Peters Church, Hutton CM13 1JS – Wednesday Mornings 10am – 12 Noon

 St Stephens Church, Knights Way, Ingrave CM13 2AS – Friday Mornings 10am – 12 Noon


The walk from the Brentwood Centre will continue under Brentwood Borough Council’s Health Walk scheme from September, but we do hope our current chatty walkers will still continue to enjoy each other’s company walking unled and walking informally as a social group on a Tuesday morning until the new scheme begins in September. 

Meet – Brentwood Centre Car Park – Tuesday Mornings 10am


For our community’s Youth, make sure you follow Active Essex and Essex Activate on Social Media, or visit their websites for details of free activities and holiday programmes. www.activeessex.org   

The Essex Youth Service can also provide details of youth clubs in Brentwood. https://youth.essex.gov.uk/

Our friends at Essex Goju Ryu Karate run their club at Blackmore Youth Centre for 8-16 year olds which we highly recommend. Blackmore Youth Centre, Nine Ashes Road,  Blackmore CM4 0Q – Wednesday evenings 6.30pm to 7.30pm – £3 per child.

Tai Chi Qigong for better mental health


Wednesdays – 11.15am-12.00pm

The Brentwood Theatre, 15 Shenfield Road, Brentwood, Essex CM15 8AG

This FREE 12 week programme is funded by Active Essex and delivered by Chat 1st Tai Chi instructor Gill Bauer.

Over the 12 weeks you will practice the many different facets of Tai-Chi Qigong (working with energy) pronounced “chee-gong”.


There are many benefits of Tai-Chi Qigong from help improving posture, reduce stress, improve physical and mental performance, support the nervous system and to help realize physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness. Our goal will be balancing the flow of Qi in the body so that it circulates without disruption in a smooth powerful way in alignment with the Five Elements.

To register please contact gill.bauer@btinternet.com.


FREE Yoga course from Step Into Yoga
Sunday – 10.30am-11.30pm

The Knights Way Centre, 32a Knights Way, Ingrave, Brentwood.

This new course hosted by Chat 1st friend and instructor Renate starts on 12th March 2023.

Contact Renate at renate@stepintoyoga.com to register and for more details. Alternatively visit her website at www.stepintoyoga.com


Yoga for increased wellbeing and better mental health
Women's health advice

13 week funded programme by Active Essex to support people with Women’s health concerns

This will be a 13 week programme is available for anyone having issues with Menstruation, Fertility, Endo. Perimenopause – Post Menopause, Pelvic health issues, Breast Health, Anxiety or Mood, Sleep, Hot Flushes, Bone health, Metabolic Syndrome, Heart health etc. women, children and partners looking for education around hormones and alternative natural solutions. 

There are over 40 symptoms that impact Women, Perimenopause to Post Menopause can last anything up to 9-10 years. and impacts the whole family. This programme will be educational and practical. And last approx 60-75 minutes, may vary depending on topic.

To register please contact gill.bauer@btinternet.com.

Facebook Support Group : Sail thru (Peri to Post) Menopause

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Facebook Posts

4 months ago

Power / Core Walking

Saturday 29th July at 10.15am

We're moving out of the hall and going outdoor for our class today, bring your pedometer..

Walking is something that we take for granted everyday. But do you realize that Walking is a complex movement especially if you break down all the joint positions and phases of Walking. It is complex, in so much as, if we don’t walk correctly -- much may go wrong. In class today, we correct this, and add some functional movements, to help us learn how to walk better.

Walking is a Core event --there are many core muscles involved. In this outdoor class we enjoy the weather, the scenery and the benefits of working out outdoors!!

Weather : spot of rain expected early, then from 10am Sunny & Dry, temp 18-20 degrees.

Meet at the Car Park : South Weald Parish Hall, 85 London Road, Brentwood CM14 4QS. We will walk from here. £5 Turn up promptly with 10.15am start.
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4 months ago

Looking for something FREE and fun for your age 11+ youth to do during the school holidays? Or are you looking for something that your Secondary School age youth can do, while you have time in the park with a younger sibling?

Being held in King George's Park Skate Park on the 3rd & 24th August between 12-3pm, are these skateboard and scooter days, organised by Doddinghurst Road Community Church in collaboration with Essex Youth Service and Brennan and Burch. To take part you will need your own gear including safety equipment. Drinks and snacks are provided.

There is no need to book, you can just arrive on the day. If you would like more information, please see the details on the poster below. Parking charges apply.

Active Essex, Find Your Active - Brentwood, Brentwood Borough Council, Essex Youth Service Brentwood, #YouthSummerFun, #brentwoodyouth
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Lorraine Shorter

5 months ago

THE ART OF QIGONG : Welcome in the Fire Element

As of 21st June it is officially Summertime, in TCM when we switch or transition from the Wood/Spring Element into Fire/Summer Element. Fire Element is represented by a Flame. The Fire Element comprises of 4 powerful meridians : Heart, Small Intestines, Circulation-Sex and Triple Warmer. Over the weeks we will individually work with each Meridian.

Today, we work with the Flame concept. Think in order to make a Fire what is needed? Wood. We also need a spark/flame/match to ignite a Fire. In order to expand the Flames bigger, we need to blow breath/fan oxygen into the Fire and keep feeding it with Wood. To contain the Fire we need a pit or Earth. What happens if the Fire gets out of control, we doust it with Water.

These metaphors describe the 6 TCM Imbalances relating to Heart/Fire

Heart Qi Deficiency
Heart Yang Deficiency
Heart Blood Deficiency
Heart Yin Deficiency
Heart Fire Blazing
Heart Blood Stagnation

Some of the symptoms are insomnia, heat in chest, palpitations, anxiety, tongue issues, blood pressure high or low, repressed anger, poor circulation, neurological mild pricking to intense stabbing pains, constriction, mental agitations, restlessness, impulsiveness, thirst, skin and inflammation issues, allergies.

In Qigong class we help the Meridian Qi move efficiently and effectively from Wood/Spring into Fire/Summer with some breathing techniques, Qigong movements and Acupuncture points for balance.

For a timetable of my latest classes please email gill.bauer@btinternet.com
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award winning

Chat 1st is an Award Winning Programme.  An exercise intervention and coping mechanism for those struggling with poor mental health.


All sessions are delivered by fully qualified instructors with peer support from those with lived experience. The delivery team are qualified mental health first aiders.


The wellbeing of our members is the most important thing for Chat 1st. Our aim is to offer chat & exercise (at all levels) for support and signposting.