Chasing away the winter blues!

WinterFest volunteer, physiotherapist Nicola Stephen with her daughter Robyn

Inclusivity is the aim for WinterFest 2024

Brightlingsea WinterFest has chosen Inclusivity as its theme for this year, with the aim of making everyone feel welcome at the festival’s extensive and exciting array of events.

The countdown is on for WinterFest 2024, which, for the second year running, is being held in association with Brightlingsea Literary Festival. A total of 40 events will be taking place across February and into early March, at venues throughout Brightlingsea, offering something for everyone.

This year, even more thought is being put into promoting people’s wellbeing and this has led to the decision to put inclusivity at the top of WinterFest’s agenda.

Physiotherapist Nicola Stephens, who runs her own practice in Brightlingsea, has joined WinterFest’s dedicated team of volunteers and has taken a leading role in helping to make the festival’s events accessible and enjoyable for all.

Nicola said: “I love all that WinterFest stands for. Promoting the arts as a pathway to better mental wellbeing and raising awareness of mental health is vital in our modern world.

“As a physiotherapist, my job is all about promoting physical health and I regularly witness the link between physical and mental health. I’m delighted to be volunteering with WinterFest, giving particular support for the festival’s Wellbeing Day with physiotherapy Q&A sessions and a get fit for gardening workshop.

“I have also taken on the role of promoting inclusivity in WinterFest. I have a teenage daughter who is autistic and through both my family links and my work I see many disabled people struggle to engage with community events.

“The aim is to improve inclusivity at WinterFest, using more venues that are accessible, live streaming events where access is difficult and providing support where possible for people to attend. Online events and information promoting disability awareness are being included this year, with the aim of helping inform people about the challenges people with disabilities face, not just physical access issues, but sensory and mental health access issues too.

“I hope that everyone, no matter what their situation, can find an event within WinterFest that they can access and enjoy.”

WinterFest’s events include concerts, music sessions, a comedy night, walks and a running event, the wellbeing day, an afternoon with poet and musician Martin Newell, museum open days and a rum and reggae night.

Brightlingsea Literary Festival’s events include a book launch, a Meet the Authors session, children’s workshops and writing workshops.

© Brightlingsea WinterFest
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