Chasing away the winter blues!

Wellbeing Fund praised by Brightlingsea mum

Complementary therapist Katie Collin has welcomed the re-opening of Brightlingsea WinterFest’s Wellbeing Fund, having seen first hand the good the fund can do.

Before she became a successful self-employed therapist, based at the Four B’s salon in Brightlingsea, Katie (pictured above) applied for two grants from the fund, for Lido tickets and for keyboard lessons for her daughter, Izzy (pictured below).

Now Katie is urging everyone who can to apply to the fund, which has just re-opened and is offering grants of up to £100 for individuals, families and organisations in Brightlingsea for activities or equipment to improve their physical, mental and social wellbeing.

“At the time I applied for the grants I couldn’t afford swimming sessions or keyboard lessons for my daughter,” said Katie, 37, who is a single mum.

“I can completely understand why people might feel embarrassed about applying for a grant.

I felt like that too, but I was determined not to let my pride stand in the way of giving my daughter some really important skills and opportunities.

“I thought that, living by the sea, it was vital for Izzy to learn how to swim and she was able to do that at the Lido in Brightlingsea. The second grant we had was for keyboard lessons and the Wellbeing Fund paid for these directly to Izzy’s teacher, Xanthia Fletcher. Izzy still plays the keyboard and swims very well. She has also been involved in The Pulse Performers in Brightlingsea who have had the benefit of equipment paid for by the Wellbeing Fund.

“My message would be, don’t hesitate to apply for a grant, it is OK to ask for help and, at a later stage, you may have the chance to help other people.”

Having studied and worked hard to become qualified and build up her status as a therapist, skilled in massage and reflexology, Katie wants to give back to others after receiving such good support herself.

She is now a great advocate for the Wellbeing Fund which was established with money raised by Brightlingsea WinterFest, the town’s annual festival of music, arts and spoken word.

“I think the Wellbeing Fund is a brilliant idea,” said Katie. “Coming to live in to Brightlingsea six years ago was the best move I ever made. It is the friendliest town ever. I was so amazed at first when people stopped to say hello, which never happened in Basildon, where I used to live.

“I have worked for lots of local businesses in Brightlingsea and as a sideline trained in massage. When I was made redundant from a job at a plumbing firm during lockdown I decided to become self-employed and was delighted to join the lovely team at the Four B’s.

“I am a caring person with a holistic approach and it is great to see people supporting each other. I specialise in giving massage to cancer patients and offer their first session free of charge. It is good to be able to give something back, after so many people helped me along the way.”

For details on how to apply for a grant from Brightlingsea WinterFest Wellbeing Fund visit or pick up an application form from Brightlingsea Town Council’s offices. Grants are not given in cash, but are used to fund activities or equipment to help promote wellbeing.

The closing date for applications is 22 July 2022.

© Brightlingsea WinterFest
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