Who are we?
Unity is a team of passionate Teachers, Therapists, Artists & Facilitators, who care deeply about Health, Wellbeing & The Arts being accessible to all.
Unity was originally founded by managing director, Sevanti, in 1998. Sevanti has more than 20 years’ experience of yoga, dance and holistic treatments. She feels committed to help provide the powerful life enhancing/changing benefits of Yoga, Dance, Art, Meditation, Music, Theatre and Therapies to people of varying ages, backgrounds and ability.
With a degree in Dance (having trained at the Laban Centre for movement and Dance), various diplomas in Yoga, Massage and various other forms of Bodywork & Healing, Sevanti opened the Unity School of Yoga, Massage and Dance in 2002.
Running global Retreats, Classes, Workshops and Community Projects since 1998, the Unity Studio was opened in 2012 in Brighton. A packed timetable of various movement and meditation based disciplines has been enjoyed since and it has been the residential home for the Unity School.
The Unity Centre in Lewes is established as a CIC, a ‘Community Interest Company’. This is a not-for-profit organisation which trades in the above disciplines for the benefit of the community. The profit generated is a ‘pay it forward’ structure, whereby it (and accompanied funds from grants and donations) can contribute to our specific projects for those who are considered disadvantaged or marginalised. We wish to ensure that as many people as possible are able to benefit from these services despite any physical mobility, learning difficulty or economic challenges.
At ‘The Unity Centre’, we offer concessions, low cost community classes, deals, memberships and packages as well as a lower hire rate for other registered charities. Our general pricing for those who are able to afford it, helps us to sustain the project for our diverse local and visiting community.
Sevanti’s vision from the outset has been to create a centre which will be as accessible as possible to the wider community so that all may benefit in health, the arts and wellbeing. However, she also loves architecture and design and has spent many years collating items which have inspired her image of the ideal atmosphere for this work. She feels it is essential for the environment to be healing in itself, comfortable and inspiring to a range of people.
Unity design and the Turkish decor at The Unity Centre, Lewes
Having run Yoga Retreats in Turkey annually since 1998, this felt like the ideal project as the building was originally built as the Turkish Baths! Therefore, this is an exciting opportunity for Sevanti and she has loved researching and collating Turkish designed decor.
From the overall architecture plans of room layout, through to every colour, material and texture of floors, walls, furniture and furnishings, Sevanti has made each decision carefully to ensure a congruent and beautiful space.
A visit to Istanbul to collect the lights and months trawling through flea markets, has established a homely and fresh space for us all to unwind and rejuvenate in.
Practice with devotion, share with love, live your dream
The Unity Centre at The Turkish Baths; a little history
The Turkish Baths opened in June 1862, inspired and created by Burwood Godlee. It was described as ‘hot air and hot and cold water baths’, and was very popular with Victorian Lewesians, with at least 1,500 bathers visiting in the first three months. However alternative, larger baths opened in Brighton in 1868 and popularity started to decline. The Lewes Turkish Baths eventually closed in 1882, open for just 20 years.
The iconic building has also been used as the base for ‘Clothworks’ and more recently as the Lewes District Council’s Print-works. However, it lay empty for many years before the tender for the building was announced in early 2017. Initially the Council were considering a Restaurant or Café but the local people signed a petition of over 2000 people, instigated by former Jo Carter to ensure that the building was accessible to the whole town as more of a centre for the community. Therefore, the bid was opened and after many months of detailed assessment, Unity won the bid.
Sevanti has had the vision for this larger centre for over 15 years and has been searching for the ideal location. This ground floor, accessible and iconic building is the perfect venue! After 2 years of securing the tender and extensive building works and the Centre is opening on September 6th 2019.
Lewes District Council has renovated the ‘shell’ of the building and Unity has renovated the interior, including the heating, lighting, plumbing, walls, flooring and entire re-fit.
We have also made provision to new disabled access by changing the highway entrance to the rear of the property, where there is now space for a disabled vehicle, an accessible ramp into the building, wider doors and a disabled toilet with an adult changing table and a hoist to use on site.
The heart of our natural health centre is yoga, and the sanskrit word ‘yoga’ means ‘to join’; to live in harmony in body, mind, emotions & spirit, and to connect and relate to others with respect and love. Our Core Values sum up our ethos and mission statement.
Unity is the coming together of a community, to create a supportive family-like environment for all people to learn, grow, reflect, relax and enjoy life together. Our intention is to be a welcoming, friendly, down to earth yet highly professional Centre for Yoga, Wellbeing & The Arts where all are welcome.
Meet the Team
Sevanti (Jo Attwood)
Unity Founding Managing Director, Teacher & Practitioner
Sevanti has taught Dance, Yoga, Massage, Bodywork & Healing since 1998.
She teaches globally on various retreats and communities and has run her own retreats for over 20 years in various countries and annually in Turkey. She established the Unity School in 2002 and has taught her annual ‘Unity Yoga Teacher Training’ and ‘Unity Holistic Massage’ Diplomas, plus various postgraduate Diplomas including her creation of ‘Unity Partner Yoga’ since then in London, Kent and Sussex. She is an IYN Yoga Elder (extensive teaching hours).
She opened ‘The Unity Studio’ in Brighton in 2012, the home of Unity School and in 2017 Sevanti secured the former ‘Turkish Baths’ building in Lewes as the ultimate home for her vision. Having run Family Retreats in Turkey annually since 1998, it felt like the perfect building to become the new inclusive home of Unity.
Sevanti teaches various children’s classes, including groups of children who have been adopted or in foster care. She loves to work with all ages, particularly the more vulnerable groups.
Sevanti lives in Lewes with her young daughter where they enjoy the beautiful nature of this part of the world. She continues to teach, train and travel and loves to work with the wonderful ‘Unity family’ team!
Unity studio manager
Lottie has been practicing and training in yoga for several years whilst travelling and working abroad, finding yoga a fantastic way to escape from the busyness of life: to allow the mind and body to become still. Completing her Vinyasa and Hatha training in Barcelona, she now lives back in the UK sharing with others the huge benefits yoga gives to the lives we live in the Western world. She is firmly of the belief that yoga can be beneficial to everyone and makes her classes accessible to all. Lottie brings a vibrant youthful presence to The Unity Centre.
Unity Centre receptionists
- Seth Allen
- Emma Cunliffe
- Lucy Hemming
Trustees (CIC directors)
- Sevanti (Jo Attwood) – PSC
- Anna Brook
- Heather Hawthorn
- Jonathan Silver
Trustees (CIC non-executive directors)
- Clare Brewer
- Alison McNab
- Beverley Hetherington
- Ann O’Keife
- Peter Nunn
- Peter Webb
Unity studio manager
Unity spa manager
Sarah Rose Buldum
Unity school manager