I began my journey into therapies with a one day workshop in 1997 and got hooked!
Originally trained in Beauty at Colchester Institute (2 year evening classes) whilst doing Reflexology and Aromatherapy massage, Indian head massage at Brentwood Academy. I started out as a (very) mature student and didn’t have time to waste!
I used to work (10 years) for Lord Alan Sugar at Amstrad in Brentwood – and no he didn’t fire me. I continued my studies whilst operating my own private practice, and began teaching in a wide variety of schools and colleges in Essex.
Having moved to Norfolk in September 2003, I was surprised to learn there was hardly any teaching work available in Adult/FE Education (as promised). Taking a deep breath, I opened the school in January 2005 with two reflexology courses. This has expanded (obviously!)
My daughter, Sam Cummings runs her own successful Norwich School Beauty here in Norwich, where her tutors teach hair, makeup, beauty and massage.
I keep in touch with our graduates through a private Facebook page.
TherapyAid was founded along with two of my tutors: Kerrie Wittred and Dawn Dean in April 2019 and we are now busy building that up with some of the tutors and also carers. TherapyAid offer free complementary therapies to unpaid carers here in Norfolk. We became a CIC in March this year 2020 and Sir Norman Lamb is their Patron along with Janie Lee Grace.
TherapyAid came about as I really wanted to further the integration of the NHS with complementary therapies (CT). I had been to an Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) conference in November 2018 with two doctors speaking (Dr Michael Dixon and Sir Sam Everington) who are big advocates of bringing the two together (NHS and CT)
It fired my enthusiasm and as the NHS are a hard nut to crack, thought that if we could get funding, then we could treat people who needed it – especially those who didn’t realise they needed it! We focussed on unpaid carers – who are you may appreciate are in a difficult position – caring for their loved ones and not realising that they need to look after themselves in order to continue. They save the NHS over £132 billion a year – enough for another NHS. Certainly deserving of attention.
Starting with a Pilot scheme we proved through using measured outcomes what a benefit it was to them. with more patience and less head spinning for example – it is an education program as well as giving massage, reflexology etc as they had never thought that ‘this was for them’ or thought about spending money on themselves.
We were lucky to get funding from Norwich Charitable Trusts and fund raised ourselves in order to cover more of Norfolk.
Because of this I was awarded Therapist of the Year 2019 by the Federation of Holistic Therapists. In November 2020 I was awarded Inspiration of the Year by Broadland District Council. All for the work we do at TherapyAid. www.therapyaid.co.uk