Massage of the Month: Wiggly Willow café owner Sid Perry enjoys rare relaxation
In conjunction with the Indie, massage therapist Lisa Rodmell, who runs her own business RMBLife, is offering a FREE massage – in a salon, at her home or in the client's home – to someone who goes the extra mile for the benefit of the community in Bishop's Stortford, or who deserves a special treat...
An unstoppable woman who works 70 hours a week at her community café, enjoyed some well-earned rest and relaxation when she was named the Bishop's Stortford Independent's Massage of the Month winner for March.
Sid Perry, 43, runs Wiggly Willow on the corner of Crown Terrace and Hockerill Street. By day it operates as a regular coffee shop while in the evenings it hosts a social club for people with special educational needs (SEN), as well as Makaton singing and signing classes, and various one-off events.
Sid recently celebrated Wiggly Willow's first anniversary, and while business has been good, she has put in a tremendous amount of work to ensure that the café thrives.
"It hasn't stopped – I've worked nearly 70 hours every week since I started," she said.
"Lots of people in the community are using it as a hub. That was always the dream.
"The social club is going brilliantly, the Makaton is bonkers... I'm training at least three classes a month."
Wiggly Willow gave SEN adults the chance to take part in work experience placements, but Sid and the team have recently reshuffled this scheme. "We've found out it's a bit tricky. They're not learning as much as they could be learning," she said.
Sid found that those on placement learn best when they are given one-to-one tuition, so the Wiggly Willow team have designed a scheme to enable them to do this. Up to seven trainees can be taken on for a three-month course, where they will work at Wiggly Willow for three or four hours a week and be given supervision and help by a Wiggly Willow teacher around the clock.
"Once they've learned it, they've learned it. Without one-to-one tuition, we're not able to teach them effecively," Sid said.
Sid is organising a five-day break at Gunton Hall in Norfolk in September for a group of SEN adults, all of whom are regulars at her social club. This will be the second year in a row she has taken a group on the trip. They will have a go at archery, rifle-shooting, dancing and swimming.
She is also planning a summer ball at Parsonage Community Centre on Saturday, July 20, and if that was not enough to contend with, she runs two fitness sessions a week at Hatfield Heath Community Centre: on Mondays she leads a stretch class for over-50s, which includes a mixture of yoga, Pilates and ballet, while on Wednesdays she teaches an exercise class.
Sid was nominated for the massage by Sophie Wilson, who wrote: "Sid puts her heart and soul into her work and is a true inspiration and in my opinion a massage is well deserved."
Being treated to a spot of downtime was fantastic, said Sid. "Because I've got so much going on, I find it very difficult to relax," she said. "I've got to be on the go all the time. I wouldn't go out and book a massage. I never stop. But being forced to go, as it were, was lovely.
"I run on adrenaline all the time. I'm like a little field mouse."
* To nominate someone for April's Massage of the Month, email firstname.lastname@example.org with contact details of your nominee and your reason for putting them forward.