Soul Happy

2017 saw the launch of Soul Happy – a new, not-forprofit wellbeing centre in the heart of Peterborough, aiming to help people realise their full potential and become happier, healthier and stress free. Located on Cowgate, Soul Happy offers a huge range of exciting and innovative therapies, workshops, meet-up groups and services, from Reiki to massage, yoga to meditation workshops. Toby Venables talks to founder Kim Coley about the centre, why her mum’s illness inspired her to set it up and how she knew the time was right

What is the Soul Happy Centre, and what will people find there?
We call it our ‘happiness hub’. It’s a mini-sanctuary down Keebles alleyway where we have established a workshop room and several treatment rooms – what we’re trying to do is build a range of therapies and workshops that can help all people in the city. Everyone is so different in this world, so we need to do something that connects with people in different ways. In terms of wellbeing, some people approach it from a more logical or scientific perspective, some from the perspective of spirituality, or confidence and empowerment, or relaxation and calming…

We wanted that full spectrum, so we have a lot going on in the centre! Outside the centre, too. We want to go out and connect with people, so we have our ‘flashmob’ mass meditation – Peterborough’s first – where people can meditate for whatever reason they like. For peace, for themselves, for their community. We’ve also got a ‘Pay It Forward tribe’ so people who want to can do random acts of kindness and give back to the community or a cause and connect and help in different ways. We have already gone out to help people in Cathedral Square, do social experiments, litter picks and give packages to the homeless…

We are also working with the Carers Trust at Sue Ryder Peterborough, giving free pampering and free workshops at Thorpe Hall to both the carers and the cared for, because the carers often need a break and a bit of pamper time themselves. Separately, from a private funder, Soul Happy has also been awarded £5,000 to offer cancer sufferers free and discounted workshops, sessions and treatments. This will support and empower them, and help them feel more connected to themselves whilst helping to reduce their stress. This comes right back around to why I launched our wellbeing centre in the first place – because of my mum’s story, which due to looking after her took me out of my employment and into my true purpose of what I am doing now.

So caring for someone diagnosed with cancer is something you’ve experienced first hand. Tell us how that lead to Soul Happy?
I used to work for Peterborough Environmental City Trust, running their green business schemes. I worked there for seven years and with helping people and businesses to be greener and more sustainable, it was one of the best job I’ve ever had. But when my mumwas diagnosed with cancer in early 2014 something shifted. I slowly became her full-time carer, and I reduced my work hours to one day a week. We introduced a lot of wellbeing initiatives for her – for example, hypnosis, Reiki, alkaline diet and massages, even shamanic work. She was previously told she only had a few months to live – she actually lived for over two and a half years and most of this time she was on good form. When she died late last year, that was a real turning point for me. Sometimes terrible things happen, but something good comes from it, and it took my mum dying for me to have this sudden understanding that life was too short to NOT connect to your soul’s purpose.

While I loved working at PECT, I wanted to help people in a different way. I’d been a Reiki master, Solution Focused Hypnotherapist and an NLP practitioner, amongst other things, and I wanted to use that experience to truly connect to people to help people be their best. It was really that whole perspective of looking after mum and losing her that gave me the perspective and drive I needed. I particularly wanted to help more people with cancer, to help them feel more in tune with themselves, more in control and less stressed. So that was it. I just had this inner knowing: ‘I’m going to do it!’ It just felt right, like a light bulb had switched on. And since that decision to create Soul Happy and grow our lovely tribe of therapists and leaders, I cannot tell you how many opportunities have just presented themselves to us. It’s been incredible! The press, various radio… Everyone was contacting ME! I actually burst into tears the other week, I was so overwhelmed with opportunities and gratitude. It just proved to me we were on the right path.

Why was it important for you to establish a physical centre?
We wanted to create a place for people to go to. A hub. And how you build energy in a space is very important. We have created this space linked with so many great people and wellbeing activities which gives off some great vibes, and we’ve got everything in this place to help improve the environment – such as salt lamps, which omit certain ions and help the air quality, and organic, therapeutic-grade essential oils like lavender and frankincense, which are always being used. We want to create this wonderful little world – just a space that allows people to be who they need to be while they are here. We are not-forprofit, too, which means the more successful we are, the more we put back into our community projects and the more we can do to help people. What a win-win for all involved!

And is it becoming a hub for other practitioners, too?
What we have found is that we are attracting so many therapists who want to work with us, and they bring their own specialities and energy which increases the opportunities for everyone. It’s great feeling part of a likeminded team like that. A lot of therapists who work with us were already practicing, but many of them wanted to be part of something bigger. We welcome anyone who wants to work with us, even if they want to rent a room for half a day a week, to be connected to this wider purpose for the city and beyond. We’re better together. And people can dip in and out as they wish. It sounds odd, but a lot of stressed people don’t always consciously know what makes them happy, so it’s helping them to discover (or rediscover) that, too. Soul Happy allows anyone to come along and try different things, and perhaps discover treatments they never knew about before. And sometimes you need support and encouragement, too. If you take the gym analogy, sometimes you work better with a personal trainer than when you’re on your own, at least to get you started anyway.

What might someone find there at the moment?
A huge spectrum: a variety of pamper therapies and 121 treatments from Sports Massage, Reflexology, Aromatherapy Massage, Indian Head Massage, Reiki, Energy Healing, Crystal Healing, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, and Holistic Nutrition to name a few. Workshops include; Essential Oil workshops, Skincare workshops, Art Therapy, Moon Circles and even Laughter Yoga! We’ve got a new session called Acting with Confidence where you can practice different states and ways of ‘being’ in a very informal and friendly setting. They say that ‘expression reduces depression’, because when we’re down, we’re often inward, retreating with negative thoughts and feelings into ourselves, but when you’re expressing we come out of ourselves. It’s a very freeing and empowering feeling.

We have confidence and empowerment workshops with TV presenter Paul Becque, called ‘Engage with Success’. Paul has brought a lot of Jack Canfields teachings (author of Chicken Soup for the Soul) to the UK to share with us. Also we are running ‘Wellbeing in the Workplace’ schemes for business too – just this morning me and some of the Soul Happy Tribe were at Peterborough City Council doing a range of one-to-one therapies, such as 10 minute pamper sessions, and confidence talks. That’s working very well; and it’s great that more and more businesses are investing in their staff wellbeing.

That must be especially true at Soul Happy…
Those values of being green and working in harmony with your environment that I was promoting at PECT are really important, too, so I have embedded them at Soul Happy as well. We have Fairtrade tea and coffee, we recycle, we compost food waste. We have upcycled and reused some furniture. We’re not just talking the talk, we walk the walk and try to live and breathe these values, behaviours and actions. I’m a vegan, so I’m trying to have a cruelty free life and low impact on the earth with as many actions as possible. We want to be the change that we want to see in the world. It would be out of balance if we were to expect everybody else to be happy and healthy if we’re not doing some of these things ourselves. We are all only human and are work in progress ourselves, so I have a monthly Reiki session, a massage and hypnotherapy for myself every month. This really worked for me when I was looking after my mum living with cancer, through her death, and even now it continues to help me to stay connected to myself, confident and focused, and to help me be my best for myself and my clients too. Ommmmm!

Join the #Soul HappyTribe to be the change you want to see in the city!
Want to help empower and work with more people? Got a skill, a therapy or something to offer and don’t want to work from home any more? Join the #SoulHappyTribe and be part of the movement to a happier and healthier Peterborough (and beyond)! Soul Happy are always looking to grow their #SoulHappyTribe to help more people to be their best.
If you would like to be part of the mass wellbeing shift for Peterborough and join our tribe to offer your services skills as a full, part-time, self-employed or volunteer-based role, then get in touch. (Anyone who is a practitioner, therapist or volunteer with the Soul Happy Tribe gets discounts on workshops such as meditation workshops, confidence workshops and one-to-one therapies, too).

● Please get in touch if you want to work with Soul Happy in some way:   or call: 07814 393099.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.

Register an Account