About us



Sue Gannon – Director and Secretary

Sue studied Cultural Studies in Sheffield and worked at the Charities Board before going into nursing. She currently works as a Rapid Response Nurse for Marie Curie visiting people in their own homes.

U Retreat was founded following a family bereavement, as a place for people to visit when they are overwhelmed and need to recharge, recognising that life can be challenging at times. Hence our motto ‘Feel like you again’.

Mandy Allen – Director

Mandy studied Human Communication and Language Science in Leeds and worked for a local awarding body for Deaf Communications qualifications for 17 years.

She now works as a registered Level 3 Lipspeaker  and has a Level 4 qualification in British sign Language.

Chantelle Forster – Director

Chantelle works as a full time Marie Curie Nurse and nurse prescriber.

She has a keen interest in alternative and complimentary therapies and has a Level 2 Reiki qualification.

Joan Cook – Events Support Worker

Joan has worked in the care sector for many years both in learning disabilities and palliative care.

She is a qualified Reiki and Reflexology therapist and personally practices Yoga and meditation.

Our Instructors

Anna Little

Anna is a qualified instructor in Pilates and intrinsic Biomechanics.

She has a passion to see people living life to the full and have health and fitness to be able to do so, no matter what their age or level of fitness.


Louise Mackenzie

Louise is an artist and researcher who was born in Edinburgh but is now based in the North East. She recently undertook a PhD in Fine art at Northumbria University. She creates installation, sculpture, performance, sound and film works, and runs creative workshops for all skills and ages. 



Laura Ridgeon

Laura is a qualified Hatha yoga teacher with both the British Wheel of Yoga and Integral Yoga Institute.

Hatha yoga offers an adaptive practice suitable for all abilities and beginners.

Yoga will help you release physical and mental tension and leave you feeling calm and refreshed.



Sarah O Dowd

Sarah is a landscape artist from Northumberland who, after doing an art foundation course at Sunderland University, went on to gain a B.A in fine arts at Newcastle University. Her art work is strongly personal, contemporary, subjective and even romantic.