Helen Barrett Bright Ideas Awards

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.

Whatever you need to kick-start your dream career, if you’re over 18 you can apply for a grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to help you on your way. Maybe you have a creative hobby and need the resources to turn it into a thriving business. Perhaps you’ve already started your business and need some funding and support to help you expand and reach your audiences. Whatever it is, a Helen Barrett Bright Ideas Award can help you on your way.

Award winners can receive a grant of up to £5000 to boost their business idea, as well as access to expert support and guidance.

Helen Barrett Bright Ideas Awards 2022

Applications for the 2022 HBBI Awards will open in the summer. Please check back for more details!

Who was Helen Barrett?

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 funding and support from the 65 Roses Trust, we are delighted to be able to offer these awards to help entrepreneurs with CF set up thriving businesses.

Is self-employment right for me? 

Choosing to start your own business or become self-employed is a big step. For some, the freedom of flexible hours that can fit around treatments and fluctuating health means that work and CF can fit together more easily. For those who are in secure employment there are things to consider, such as sick pay and holidays. It's a personal decision, and if you have any concerns about how pursuing your business dream may impact your health, you can talk to your CF team. 

If you are in receipt of benefits and have any concerns about how earning through self-employment could impact your benefits, our Helpline team can put you in touch with our specialist Welfare & Rights Advisor for advice.

This year's winners

Thank you to all those who have submitted an application for this year’s Helen Barrett Bright Ideas Awards.

Read more about our 2021 winners...

  • Laura’s clothing brand

    Each and every one of us are different; different style, different size - but clothing doesn’t reflect this. So that’s how my sister Rachel came up with the idea for Careaux.

    Careaux combines timeless silhouettes with a world-first innovation which is patent pending as the concept has not been done before. Each Careaux piece is offered in any size and made with a hidden zip around the waist -enabling the dress to separate into a top and a skirt. This means that every dress can have a different - or same - size top and bottom and you can mix and match the tops and the skirt to create different style, fabric and colour combinations.

    My hopes and dreams are to grow Careaux and to continue to do what I can to create change in the world and to have a positive impact. I’m excited to be able to create change in the fashion industry, and to be able to create a fully inclusive, diverse and accessible fashion industry and world.

    Read Laura's story

  • Sam's game

    I started to learn how to develop games a few years ago, as a way to exercise my brain. After learning some of the basics I decided I wanted to create a shop-keeping game set in a fantasy world. I’m writing and producing my own music for the game, as well.

    I was over the moon when I found out I was chosen as a winner. I’m going to use the money from the award to buy some more equipment, including a new laptop, which will help speed up the process. It’s really motivational to be noticed for your work!

    Read Sam's story

  • Jonathan's film

    With the help of the wonderful guys over at Now in a Minute Productions, we’ll be producing another short film of mine, The Swan with the Broken Lungs, a story I wrote many years ago that’s loosely based on my own experiences with CF.

    It’s a story I have wanted to tell for quite a while now. So many people still have no idea what CF even is and there are very few films that cover the subject.

    If this film can have any impact whatsoever on helping to spread the awareness of this awful disease, then I’ll be a very happy man.

    Read Jonathan's story

  • Martha's stories

    When I was made redundant during the pandemic, after an initial panic I suddenly had time to fit in all that writing I wanted to do. I have quickly realised that I don't need to publish novels to be a writer. I've had around 60 stories published online and in print now. I've won writing competitions and even judged them.

    The HBBI money is going to help me to professionalise myself. Building a website, signing up to writing organisations, attending events where I get to network and hobnob (mmmm, hobnobs). Some of the money will also be used to enter those high-profile competitions which can be expensive to enter - but you have to be in it to win it, as they say. The rest will be used to market my novella (a tale about grief and sharks, due out in 2023).

    Like all writers, the dream of writing a bestselling novel is never far from my thoughts, but realistically my hope is that I can earn a living from writing. This boost from HBBI and the Trust at this early juncture will be so helpful.

    Read Martha's story

  • Lucy's play

    My plan for the future is to write for TV and theatre. I would love for there to be characters with CF and storylines that are about more than just their illness. CF influences my writing a lot as it’s extremely important to me to represent disability on TV, without taking an overly sanitised approach.

    My aim is to show that people with disabilities can be sexually desirable and are human beings with flaws and their own moral codes. I want to challenge the common stereotype of us all being brave and heroic.

    I was so touched and grateful that the Trust would support me with my goals of becoming a writer. I’m going to use the award to put on a play and have it filmed, which will help me showcase my work and hopefully get an agent.

    Read Lucy's story

  • Sophie's dog grooming business

    I was in between jobs when my dog, Blackjack, was injured by a groomer. So I decided to learn how to do pet grooming myself. And it turned out I was really good at it, and I really loved it.

    When I got the call that I’d been chosen as a winner, I asked them if they were joking! It was amazing. I really didn’t think I’d win. I’ve used the money to build my own salon in my mum’s back garden. My partner is really happy that the Trust has supported me with my goals –even though he’s the one who’s had to build my salon for me! But it’s taken it from being a hobby to being a business.

    To me, a life unlimited means being able to do exactly what I want, when I want. Cystic fibrosis doesn’t stop me doing anything, and it never will. If I want to do something, I’ll do it. However long it takes, I’ll do it. I’m a very determined person!

    Read Sophie's story

  • Becky's baking business

    I’m currently in the process of sourcing a new oven and a food-safe printer so I can print my own logos and images or photos for cakes using food-safe ink. I used the award money to purchase a laptop for creating the images to print. I’m also looking into fondant modelling courses, to improve my ability to make figurines for cakes. 

    In the future, I would really like to be spending much more time on my cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, really making a name for myself, and seeing how I can make Becky Bakes the best it can be. 

    Read Becky's story

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