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Cystic Fibrosis Trust

Helen Barrett Bright Ideas Award

The Bright Ideas Awards have been established in memory of Helen Barrett, a successful entrepreneur who, together with her partner, set up a gym that is still thriving today.

What it's all about

Applications for the Bright Ideas Awards are now open!

Whatever you need to kick-start your dream career, if you’re over 16 you can apply for a grant of up to £1,000 and expert mentoring to help you on your way. Do you have a creative hobby, and would a grant enable you to buy the equipment and materials you need to start selling your creations? Perhaps you have a brilliant business idea, and want to test the market? Maybe you need some training, or some resources to help you reach your audience? 

Helen Barrett dreamed of setting up her own business, and she didn’t let her cystic fibrosis hold her back. Sadly, having fought a hard battle, Helen died a week before her 32nd birthday - but her gym is still thriving today, and through these awards set up in her memory we hope to inspire others to make the leap too. Working for yourself can offer great benefits – you plan your own hours, earn your own money, and do what you love. We want young people with cystic fibrosis to use the grants and mentoring to follow in Helen’s footsteps and live the life they want to. With the support of a generous individual and The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, we’re delighted to be able to offer these awards for the second year running to help people with cystic fibrosis make the most of their passions.

The deadline for applications is 31 January 2017, and awards will be given in March 2017. To apply, complete and submit the application form at the bottom of this page, sending in any supporting materials to

Head down to the form below and be in with the chance to win up to £1,000!

Congratulations to our 2016 award winners

One year on, Emilia got in touch to tell us how the award has made a difference to her:

"Since receiving the money from the Helen Barrett Bright Ideas Award, I have been able to set up my sewing business with a workstation, more fabric and everything I need for my stall when I'm showing at craft fairs. Without this headstart, I would never have been able to grow my business so well and so quickly. 

"I am just so grateful that Helen's memory has given me the opportunity to do what I love the most and enabled me to keep my sanity after losing my job because my health got so bad. Thank you so much! You motivate me every day!"


An actor, entertainer and YouTube vlogger with a passion and talent for making videos to support the CF community and share his unique take on life with the condition. Charles wants to invest in the equipment required to deliver better videos to his many subscribers.  Charles said: “It means so much to me when people support me and what I do by watching, sharing and commenting on my videos, but to receive financial support in this way left me speechless.”


Poppy is an artist with a background in fashion design. Since her recent double-lung transplant, she has decided she is ready to move forward with her art career and will use the support to start selling her striking works of art.


Polly has a passion for jewellery making and is currently undertaking a silversmithing course. She now wants to channel her creativity and enthusiasm into the development of a website and online shop, where she can sell her unique creations. Polly said: "I'm still in a state of shock! It's inspired me to really get thinking creatively, and I can't wait to get started!"


Having made the difficult decisions to give up full time work to focus on her health, Emilia applied for support in developing her textiles business by developing a workspace where she can store fabrics and work on her beautiful creations.

Emilia says: "This grant gives me the opportunity for my dream career to become a reality and for a special lady's memory to live on. It means that I can start my business with a backing of help and funds and truly put my all into it. Thank you so much to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and most importantly to Helen Barrett and her father, Tony. Thank you for your lovely phone call and saying lovely things about my work. You have given me such motivation and immense joy! I can't say thank you enough."


Christopher is an artist who has studied to Masters level at Camberwell College of Art and Wimbledon Colleges of Art, and exhibited his work at the National Gallery. He is now exhibiting his work in London, so hopes to use his grant for framing and preparing his paintings. He has recently been asked to submit paintings for an art fair in Mayfair, and to a high-end interiors shop where his paintings are for sale alongside works by David Hockney.

Christopher said: "I am very grateful for receiving help towards my framing, as this is the biggest cost in presenting my work in a professional manner as an artist. This has made a huge difference to the next six months for me, enabling me to purely focus on producing more paintings. The trust fund is a great way of giving people a start to realising their ambitions."


Mikey planned a career as a rock star, but following a decline in health had to reconsider and is now combining this passion with his graphic design and joinery skills to create bespoke, handmade drum kits.

Mikey told us: “I am absolutely thrilled to be awarded this, thank you so much! It will really help to get me going on this new venture and could not have come at a better moment.”


Sara has been studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and she is now ready to start up her own counselling practice. Sara says: Being awarded this grant means a great deal to me. It has boosted my confidence and given me the opportunity to start my own business and work my own hours - which I would never have done on my own without this support.”

Apply for this year's Helen Barrett Bright Ideas Award!

Fill in the form below, being sure to complete all required fields. We encourage all applicants to provide supporting information including photos, links to websites, portfolios, business plans and if possible a two minute video pitch, which you can email to us at Be creative and think about what you want our judges to know about your idea to make it stand out from the crowd!

First name
Last name
Address line 1
Address line 2

Date of birth (DD/MM/YYYY)
Telephone number
Are you eligible to work in the UK?

Are you currently:

Are you currently:
Tell us about yourself - for example, you might want to share some details about your life/education so far, your hobbies and interests or particular challenges you have faced because of cystic fibrosis (up to 300 words):
Tell us about your Bright Idea - use this section to inspire our panel of judges, but remember to keep it under 300 words long!:
Submitting a video

To bring your Bright Idea to life, you're encouraged to submit a two-minute video to
How much financial support are you applying for? Grants are usually between £250 and £1000
Submitting business plans and portfolios

You're encouraged to submit supporting information, such as photos, business plans and portfolios, to


The Trust is committed to funding and supporting cutting-edge research to find new and better treatments for cystic fibrosis. Take a look at some of that work and the progress that is being made.

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What is cystic fibrosis?

Find out more about cystic fibrosis, its diagnosis and how it is treated, as well as useful links to our publications and other organisations who can help.

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