In 2007 Julie Rennie set up Reiki River, offering Reiki training and therapy, Reiki drum treatment and meditation. Reiki is an ancient Japanese form of relaxation and, prior to 2020, Julie’s clients travelled from across the UK and beyond, with some coming from as far away as the USA. Julie also worked with a local charity to provide treatment and training in Reiki for carers.
As Reiki is delivered face to face, Julie stopped her treatments and workshops when the first COVID-19 lockdown was announced in March 2020.
“Everything came to a dramatic halt, including support that I had been accessing to fix a problem with my website, after it had been hacked” said Julie. “I’m a member of the UK Reiki Federation and The Reiki Association, so I followed their guidance on PPE and other safety measures, but I didn’t know what to do to continue with my web development.”
Following a successful grant application from the North East Business Support Fund (Restart & Recovery/Kick-starting Tourism) – which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the Northern Powerhouse – Julie was able to work with a web developer to create a new Reiki River website, meaning she could be ready to take bookings online when lockdown eased. It also allowed her to purchase new ICT equipment, suitable for talking to clients via Zoom. £1,068.13 of funding was provided to Reiki River to support client communications and provide a much needed digital upgrade to the website.
“Without the new technology and website, I might not have had a business to take forward at all,” said Julie. “It’s made my life easier and helped me to rethink how the business operates. The new website has boosted my SEO, led to more enquiries for Reiki training partly delivered by Zoom, and I can now take bookings online, ready for when face-to-face therapy can resume.”
The North East Business Support Fund (Restart & Recovery/Kick-starting Tourism) is administered by North East Enterprise Agency NBSL.
NBSL is approved by BEIS and has achieved the Customer First accreditation. NBSL has a team of experienced business funding advisers who work with people and businesses across the North East to identify solutions that aid development and growth.
NBSL relaunched North East Business Support Fund in 2018. The inaugural round of funding was launched in 2012, since then NBSL has provided funding and support to businesses from an array of sectors spanning all corners of the region with a recent impact report finding that the fund has yielded an impressive £4.40 economic boost for every £1 invested.