There are so many wonderful wellbeing stories and businesses in our community, we thought it was a great opportunity to invite people to share their experiences with our groups. Sharing stories, experiences, help and support is at the core of our peer support initiatives and our programme of guest speakers builds on this. It offers an opportunity to hear the stories of other local people, how their own lived experience has shaped their life and business decisions and often been the catalyst for big changes.
Our guest speakers have given their time freely to share their knowledge and experience in the hope it may help or inspire others, many have made wellbeing their business, all are passionate about mental health and wellbeing.
Wednesday 5th January
Wednesday 26th January
Colette Thorns – Lifestyle Medicine
Rebecca Martin – Editor and Brand Consultant
Wednesday 9th February
Wednesday 23rd February
Janine Knell – PURE Indulgence by the Sea
Kerry Hales – Life coach (Women’s Wellness)
Jamie Taylor – Exercising Out of Crisis (MenTalk)
Wednesday 9th March
Sunday 20th March
Wednesday 30th March
Caroline Lyons – Lotus Therapies
Amy Hitchcock – Forth and Forage – Roman Veggies Taster Tour
Lorna Harris – Writer and PR
Wednesday 13th April
Wednesday 27th April
Melanie Stevenson – Art Therapy for All (Women’s Wellness)
Brent Lewis – Far Skate Foundation (MenTalk)
Liz Atkins – Artist and Creative Practitioner
Wednesday 11th May
Imogen Tinkler – Bangers & Balls (Women’s Wellness)
John Butterworth – Artist (MenTalk)
Wednesday 8th June
Ruth Cooper-Dickson – Positive psychology practitioner and founder of global Mental Wealth consultancy CHAMPS
Sunday 26th June
Kris Searle – Founder & Creative Director (Happy Here)
After a spiral few years, constant gigging, writing with many artists and winning awards for his music he decided it was time to come home.
His new single “Out of My Head” is a culmination of things during lockdown where he uses a dream as a metaphor for his journey, with the release in the chorus representing what became of the all the pain.
Searle’s new sound finds his vocals delivering his best performance yet, where you can really hear the intent in his delivery.
He is currently working on his new music from his album Echo River, charting the journey he’s taken battling with his mental health which he feels very strongly drives his inspiration by way of healing his past traumas and releasing them in song.
Kris has now launched his wellbeing company Happy Here, an online and in-person creative wellbeing support community helping people to take an empowered approach to their mental wellbeing, breaking down barriers between people of all genders, sexual orientation and backgrounds and to connect with inclusive like minded people, where you can be heard with compassion, non-judgement and care.
The Happy Here team is providing wellbeing services within Kent with the help of their Happy Bus, a new and exciting creative outreach service. They offer this through social prescribing, a non-medical approach to providing mental wellbeing support. It utilises and encourages people to improve their wellbeing through identifying and recommending activities and resources based on an individual’s needs, interests, and capability; helping them find the opportunity then motivating them.
“We are proud allies and PRIDE ourselves on being a safe space for ALL regardless of your sexuality, faith, age, gender, disability or race focussing on social interaction and support to help cope with mental health issues and normalising the stigma attached to it.” Kris Searle – Founder and Creative Director.
Art is more than a process or final product for John, in his own words “my sanity resides in my art” and whilst at one time, due to deep sadness and family grief, he was unable to pick up a brush, it eventually became the one thing that helped him to reconnect with himself. John explores many feelings through his art and when there are conflicts in life that challenge his equilibrium, he finds solace and peace in his studio where he can be himself. In finding the balance in life and cherishing his passion John says he is now trying to treat everything else with clear mindedness rather than wishing time away.
You can find John’s Art at www.jbutterworth.co.uk
Member of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)
I have been practicing Art Therapy for many of years working with children, adolescents, adults and elderly adults in various settings.
My specialist area is with children and adolescents working in are primary and secondary schools, pupil referral units as well as in private practice. I work with behavioural issues, profoundly deaf students, children with autism, bereavement and young people in Foster Care individually or in group settings.
Why Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is a gentle approach to expressing emotions using creativity. This can enable individuals to explore issues of concern in order to cultivate emotional resilience. Sometimes it can be hard to relate difficult feelings verbally, art therapy allows people a way of expressing themselves in a different way.
Having had cancer 24 years ago and going through a very messy divorce, I decided to revaluate my life and begin a new career in my late 40’s. I graduated BA honours Applied Art and MA Art Therapy. I was also raising three boys as a single mum.
I have since started up Art Therapy4all CIC which provides Art Therapy to the local community and addresses issues around mental health and wellbeing.
If you would like any information, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For far too long people have concentrated mainly on Physical Health and whilst this is hugely important it is only HALF the picture. Mental Health is as important and in fact integral to people achieving their full potential.
As a Holistic Therapist Caroline looks at the WHOLE picture of our health, bringing to her treatments her years of both personal and professional insights. She will share her own journey with depression in her early 20’s, her experience with post natal depression after the birth of her first child and now supporting family members with their struggles coming out of the Pandemic.
With a passion for cold water swimming Caroline helped set up the Bubbletit Bluetits Coldwater swimming group here in Whitstable mid pandemic and has enjoyed hearing all the positive affects this form of therapy has had on peoples mental health.
Caroline runs Lotus Therapies Whitstable from a cabin in her garden where she offers a range of therapies to support your physical and mental wellbeing from Massage, Reflexology, Thai Massage to Yoga and Pilates. She also has her own Award Winning range of Natural Skincare aimed at menopausal women.
Growing up in the midst of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, she found books were her constant companion, helping her escape reality to new worlds filled with marvellous mystery and magic. Her love of reading has now grown into a passion for writing.
Janet has to date published four books: her first fiction novel ‘The Naked Knitting Club: Book 1 – Casting On’, and two non-fiction: ‘Write to Heal’ and ‘Live the Rainbow’. At the beginning of the global pandemic, Janet brought together a group of 31 people from the UK and across the world, to compile ‘UPLIFT’ – a book filled with stories, poems and art to inspire hope.
As a book coach, she supports writers to plan, shape and hone their own stories ready for publication. She uses her writing skills along with her life coaching knowledge (Janet is also a qualified Life Coach and NLP & Hypnosis Practitioner) to ensure her clients reach their potential and overcome limiting beliefs to succeed in their personal writing goals.
Having recently returned to the UK, after living 15 years overseas (USA and Switzerland), she enjoys living by the sea on the Kent coast with her husband. She enjoys reading, baking and walking. Janet is currently studying for her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Kent.
To find out more about working with Janet to write your own book, or join one of her writing workshops – please email her at
It can be the hardest thing to say life isn’t working when you are seen to be powerful and successful to the outside world but inside you feel lonely, and disconnected. Kerry’s clients are successful, smart, strong minded women, who come to her to be held in a space where they get to speak their truth, and be held accountable.
Kerry’s curiosity about the why people do what they do, started with a Psych degree and what followed was a ten year education in human potential and peak performance. Known for DeKluttered® and her best-selling book ‘Life lessons from your knicker drawer’.
She moved to the beach nearly 20 years ago to follow her dream and lives there with her two gorgeous boys, two crazy dogs and two cats who rule them all. A deep and simple life.
My career in the NHS began in the 1980s and I have worked in accident and emergency departments around the UK. After settling in Whitstable 21 years ago, I worked in local hospital outpatient clinics and more recently as a school nurse in a boarding school.
Because of my keen interest in the relationship between health and lifestyle I have continued to develop my wellbeing skills throughout my career and completed my health coaching course. Alongside this I attended a Prescribing Lifestyle Medicine course in London and I am a member of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine.
I also have a degree in health studies and continue to keep my practice up to date through reading, attending courses and conferences.
Ruth shares her lived experience of anxiety disorders and trauma, is a patron of the charity No Panic and holds an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. Ruth is the resident positive psychology expert for “On the Couch” magazine.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, she gave away more than 18,000 free #CompulsiveCharcoal newspaper drawings to commuters on public transport in London, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Cologne and more.
Liz teaches art in schools, hospitals, hospices, prisons, arts venues and universities. She is an ambassador for The Big Draw, the world’s largest drawing festival, focusing on the role of creativity for health and wellbeing.
Liz received the Unstoppable Spirit Award for Outspoken Advocacy at the TLC Global Conference for Skin Picking and Hair Pulling Disorders in San Francisco in 2018, and was a finalist in the Janey Antoniou Award with Rethink Mental Illness in 2018. Her work has featured on TEDx, BBC News, Woman’s Hour, Vice, Women’s Health USA, Huffington Post, Channel News Asia, Metro, AlJazeera and more.
Lorna has always championed mental health support and worked on the first ever ‘Time to Change’ #timetotalkday.
In 2018, Lorna lost her mum very suddenly, followed in quick succession by her dad. But it was what happened in the few months in between that really cracked open a conversation on grief. In this session, Lorna will share what happens when a simple tweet went viral and got everyone talking about kindness, love and grief and how managing her mental health is integral to her success.
Lorna moved to Whitstable after the loss of both her parents, starting again in a new town alone, and is currently working on a book about grief, love and life, which she started to write sitting in the old Revival Café at the Horsebridge and hopes to finish sitting the in the new one!
She sings in UK Soul Choir and describes the Whitstable community as being like ‘a warm hug’
Lorna lives with depression and was diagnosed after a particularly bad experience in 2006. She manages the condition, talks openly about her anxiety that can sometimes creep up on her, and how it has made her stronger than she believed she could ever be – honestly believing that writing has been a pathway to working out how she feels about stuff, and tackling it head on.
For the past 17 years reflexology has been my passion. Over the years I have worked with many clients helping to treat a wide range of ailments and concerns from infertility, high blood pressure, insomnia and anxiety to skeletal problems.
I have seen how the work I do has not only dealt with specific issues and concerns but how it has helped those who have a severe lack of confidence and self-esteem to grow and become stronger and more focussed in their everyday lives.
This aspect of my work is particularly personally satisfying as when I started as a therapist I was homeless, bringing up 3 boys and overcoming domestic abuse. My own personal battles, although extremely difficult have given me the drive and motivation to empower others to be the best they can be.
Tracey has a personal lived experience of perimenopausal distress, as well as having 29 years’ experience as an Occupational Therapist, Complementary therapist and Remedial Hypnotist. She has spent her career problem solving difficulties with the brain, chronic illness and mental health issues.
She has also co-authored a best-selling book, sharing her knowledge of sleep strategies and finding balance in life. “Unlocked, Surviving to Thriving”, curated by Sadie Restorick.
Tracey is passionate about working with like-minded women who are proactive about moving away from a life of distress, overwhelm and hormone imbalance.
Not only has she worked extensively with hundreds of women just like you, but she has also utilised the strategies she teaches, throughout her own hormonal health and wellness journey. Scientifically and personally, she knows what works!
When Tracey isn’t working, she loves to eat out, read, walk along her local beach and chase her naughty Irish Terrier Finley, when he is up to mischief!
You can connect with Tracey in her free Facebook group
“Restore through Perimenopause”
Having a work environment where people are comfortable talking about grief is very important. Only 30% of those in employment say that they have had the company’s bereavement policy given to them in the past year. 46% of grieving adults felt actively avoided by others with 4 in 10 feeling isolated in the workplace. Imogen’s story really helps with ways to overcome this.
She worked as a strategic leader in the third sector for charities including NSPCC, RNIB and Family and Childcare Trust, and for startups in the Google Top 100 before launching her own brand, Bangers & Balls. She understands communication and feeling valued in the workplace is what drives results. She gives actionable content through the stories she tells to engage workforces and increase productivity while remembering at the heart of it, we are all human.
Imogen has co-authored four bestselling books, including her chapter in Unlocked – From Surviving To Thriving, about growing happiness, how going outside and connecting to nature without the noise of demands around us and technology can help you get unstuck and improve your mental health. “The chapter on Growing Happiness has particularly resonated with me, beautifully written, poignant, personal but full of practical actions I can take.”
She has been featured in international and national press, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Sun, The Metro, The Daily Mail, Newsweek in America, in house publications for corporates including Aviva, Natwest, O2 and Royal Bank of Scotland. She has also been heard on BBC Radio, 5 Live and ITV News and is recording for BBC 4 in May.
“I’ve worked with so many people who struggle with mental health issues and certainly since lockdown the demand our service at the foundation has tripled, it’s had such a negative impact on the minds of young people. Personally I have suffered throughout my life with mental health issues and now I try to use those experiences to guide and help others through their tough times.”
Meeting at The King’s Hall Roof, Beacon Hill, Herne Bay this walk will be approximately 1 hour with coffee and a talk afterwards at the King’s Hall.
Join Amy at Forth and Forage for a free taster into the world of wild food. No foraging experience is necessary to enjoy this gentle journey along the Herne Bay downs in search of Roman vegetables!
Expect to get up close and personal identifying edible plants and practicing safe and sustainable foraging. Our star species is also an invasive one which dominates the landscape in areas, so enjoying this edible plant can help provide more space for native species.
This is suitable for everyone. Footpaths are available for the entire route and facilities are available at the King’s Hall. Dogs welcome!
This is a free event for the Walking for Wellbeing community. If you’d like to enquire about a private tour, family events and more, visit www.forthandforage.co.uk and sign up to the free forager’s newsletter for the latest!
The challenge will see him run the number of miles that corresponds to each day of the month (1 mile on 1st, 2 miles on 2nd, 3 miles on 3rd and so on), totalling 496 miles in 31 days. This will involve six back-to-back marathons and ultra-marathons, finishing with a 31 mile run on 31st March.
After a 15-year corporate career in London, Jamie started to suffer with his mental health. When he left his job in the city, he found himself spiralling into depression with no clear idea of who he was or what he should be doing with his life.
Angry, frustrated and increasingly unhealthy and unhappy, he started to seek help. But it was after receiving a punchbag and boxing gloves as a birthday present from his partner, he started to notice how exercise was improving his physical and mental health.
So Jamie decided to pick up an old love; he put on some trainers and started to jog around his home town of Faversham. After a slow start, not being able to run further than a mile or two, he quickly realised that running gave him the focus that he had been struggling to find.
Understanding that the corporate environment was toxic to his own mental well-being, he started a local window cleaning business and dedicated his spare time to running.
This led to the discovery of the little known world of ultra-running (any race further than a 26.2 mile marathon), and he was hooked. In the last couple of years has competed, and achieved top 10 finishes, in trail races ranging from 50km to 108km, as well as various challenges to raise money for charity including running 14 half marathons in 14 days.
Running is now embedded as a part of his life, and he and his partner – a yoga teacher - both strive to teach their children the value – and joy – of movement. With the recent addition of a rescue dog, Jamie has a running partner in training, and his mental health is thriving.
As a master herbalist with over 20 years’ experience, I work with people on a holistic basis which means looking at the overall health and mental health of an individual and creating a prescription to help support them with their ailments.
In 2006 I qualified as an EFT therapist and recently retook exams and courses to continue my work, I also undertook a counselling skills Diploma course which allows me to also help support people on an emotional level to help them to better understand their emotions and how they may find ways to support their own wellbeing needs.
Rosey Lees is in some part a continuation of my previous work supporting the community. In 2006 I undertook and co-founded a company called Tao East Midlands the remit was to take on old derelict spaces and transforming them with the local community to make them reusable for individuals, groups, organisations and the public. This new community network worked together to support and grow the local community and space with a particular focus on tackling the social issues that affected vulnerable groups and individuals such as homelessness, mental health and children leaving the care system.
The volunteer programme we established allowed individuals to gain skills, confidence, receive community support and training and also helped vulnerable participants to rebuild their lives. Tao was successful in fundraising for a large variety of community activities and initiatives such as a textile products course to support young single parents, allowing them to upskill to create products for re-sell. This project ran for 3 years and provided opportunities for further study and placements at local colleges. The Ethos of Tao was always about supporting the well-being of the community and working WITH the community to create to provide the tools for their own self-created projects and changes.
My work is informed by my own lived experience both in terms of my mental health, and as a survivor of domestic violence. My experience and self-help strategies have been the motivation behind my work, these first -hand experiences mean I have a greater understanding and empathy and desire to support others in a positive way, sharing my knowledge, skills and self-help techniques.
I am particularly proud of my Wellbeing Journal initiative, writing, recording and taking the time to think about my own mental wellbeing has been incredibly powerful in my own recovery and in maintaining my wellbeing but I knew that sometimes you need a little help or prompt to get started. So, the Wellbeing journals were a response to that. The journals I created prompt users to understand and recognise their emotions, make sense of them, and deal with them in a healthy positive way.
Through my work with Rosie Lees supporting physical health, I became more and more aware of the mental health impacts on the lives of my clients and how they are interlinked, by developing the Wellbeing Journals I am able to offer these as an additional support. The need and demand for the journals became more apparent as I received increasing referrals just for the journals, so I was encouraged to start a Crowdfunder to cover the costs of producing them so that I can provide them for free to groups and individuals in need but who may lack funds. Journaling has always been well documented as a method to help lift, ease and alleviate anxiety and or depression. If you would like to support this project and help keep the journals free of charge, please take a look at or share the Crowdfunder.
You can also self-refer yourself or someone in need at email@example.com
All details are in strict confidence and are not shared with any other groups or agencies.
My guiding principle is a belief that it takes a community to build and strengthen each other and I strive to achieve this in both my personal, and work life.
Kelly lee x