WinterFest’s Wellbeing Fund was established after the 2019 event give grants to people in Brightlingsea to help improve their mental, physical or social wellbeing. Eighty per cent of the money raised is put into the fund, with the remaining 20 per cent going to the charity Mind.
The fund provides individuals or families with up to £100 to pay for items or activities to promote physical and mental health and wellbeing – such as sports activities, family days out, music lessons or art tuition. In its first year, the fund awarded more than 20 grants to community groups, local organisations, individuals and families. Community groups can apply for grants of up to £250.
Alix Sheppard and Dave Griffiths, who organise Brightlingsea WinterFest, were “overwhelmed” by the response to the launch of the Wellbeing Fund.
“Dave and I were delighted with the number of applications for the first round of grants from the new fund,” said Alix. “ It is very gratifying to be able to help local groups, families and individuals, who all put forward very compelling reasons why the grants will help improve their health and wellbeing."
She added: “We are very happy that WinterFest is creating a legacy to go back into the community, helping in practical ways all the year round.”
The grants now distributed from the Wellbeing Fund include tickets for sporting and outdoor activities, for Brightlingsea Lido, music tuition, a personal training programme, sailing club membership and singing lessons.
Local organisations to benefit from grants for new equipment include The Autumn Centre, Brightlingsea Cricket Club, Pulse Performers, The Marine Conservation Society for beach clean up events, The Brightlingsea Brigade and Brightlingsea primary school. A lump sum has also been given to Brightlingsea Lido.
Recipients of the grants told us:
“Receiving the grant from the Wellbeing Fund was brilliant news. My daughter rarely leaves the house due to severe anxiety, ASD and OCD. Singing is the only thing that seems to help her cope with her everyday struggles and gives her a chance to believe in herself.”
“I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you so much for your contribution towards my membership for the sailing club in Brightlingsea. I had previously paid for my son to join however I was not able to pay a full years membership for myself.”
We have both been sailing this evening together, on separate boats, with people we have met since he joined the club and have had a wonderful time. I give my time to the Lido as I am able, but to have the funds to join a club with my son means a great deal.”
“Just to say a big thank you for our Sissix machine. We are all looking forward to using it to create some lovely [paper] crafts.”