Brightlingsea WinterFest’s new Wellbeing Fund has distributed a total of £2,500 in its first round of grants, helping to improve the lives of people in the town.
The new fund, which was established following this year’s WinterFest, has awarded more than 20 grants to community groups, local organisations, individuals and families to promote physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Alix Sheppard and Dave Griffiths, who organise Brightlingsea WinterFest, which brings an array of music, arts and many other activities to the town each February, 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.
She added: “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. 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.
From recipients of the grants:
“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.”
The Brightlingsea WinterFest Wellbeing Fund was launched this year following feedback from the local community and grants worth up to £100 were offered to organisations, families and individuals in Brightlingsea to help improve their mental, physical or social wellbeing. WinterFest, which began in 2015, will continue to support the mental health charity Mind with a donation of 20 per cent of the profits from the festival.
Alix said: “WinterFest makes a real difference to the sense of community and wellbeing in Brightlingsea, bringing people together to have fun and enjoy a wide range of events at different venues in the town. The new Wellbeing Fund has had a great start and has widened WinterFest’s scope to be a force for good in the town. We are now planning a brilliant WinterFest for 2020 and would like to offer the opportunity to local businesses or individuals to become a sponsor and benefit from some high profile recognition.”