Holistic practitioner Jo Potts features in book celebrating women
Date published: 30 April 2019
Exciting times: Jo Potts (left) at the opening of True Serenity in 2009 with Jane Glaysher-White
A holistic practitioner from Castleton has been featured in a new book to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage, ‘100 Women, 100 Stories’.
Jo Potts, 48, facility manager of Castleton Health and Leisure Centre, features in the book by Gulnaz Brennan for her contributions to holistic health and spirituality for her business, True Serenity and Enlightening.
True Serenity is a professional treatment centre dedicated to holistic wellbeing, with educational workshops and advice as well as natural healing remedies and reflexology, which originally opened in 2009 at the former Rochdale Online office on Bury Road.
After a spell at Blue Pit Mill, the centre has operated from the Castleton Health and Leisure Centre since January 2018.
Jo originally became self-employed with her own reiki practice in 2006 after leaving her previous job.
Jo said: “Reiki helped me through the breakdown of my marriage when I was pregnant in 2000, and it was then I had my eyes opened to holistic health and spirituality.
“I paid attention to my own healing process, read book after book and qualified as a Reiki Master/Teacher in 2006 at the same time I started working from a room in a friend’s house.”
After two years, ‘Serenity Reiki’ became ‘True Serenity - Centre for Holistic Excellence’.
She continued: “I still felt a really strong urge to provide the people of Rochdale with more information, choice and tools that can help to make life easier to cope with. I wanted to share what I’d learned.
“I also wanted to bring other practitioners in to offer the treatments that they felt passionately about. The intention was always to raise the profile of complementary health and to raise the vibration of Rochdale, I was tired of the bad press and the fact that Rochdale was constantly referred to as a ‘deprived’ area.
“So, even though the sums didn’t add up and I knew it wasn’t going to be an ‘overnight’ thing, I knew if I didn’t do it, I would always wonder ‘what if?’
“I felt that somebody had to do something, so I did.”
Jo incorporated the Enlightening side of the business in 2011, delivering over 200 therapeutic sessions per month for children and young people.
“I was offered great premises in Blue Pit Mill at a really good price if I would consider also working with children and families experiencing life with autism. I had included ‘getting into schools’ with complementary health in the True Serenity business plan and my background was working with ‘hard to reach’ teenagers with great success, so I said yes,” Jo added.
“I started a Community Interest Company in order to apply for funding to do this knowing lots of families wouldn’t be able to afford the full cost for treatments. Enlightening is commissioned by the NHS CCG and the local council, both of which recognise the value and positive effect of what we do. We are also able to outreach to local schools with our StressBusters programme.”
After Crewe Industrial, which owns Blue Pitt Mill, took over the Castleton Health and Leisure Centre, Jo jumped at the chance to become the facility manager and move her business into the renovated premises, of which she has fond memories.
She said: “Castleton Swimming Baths is where we spent our weekends and holidays as children. Mum even worked there in the 80s.
“I felt strongly that this facility was – and is – absolutely part of children and young people’s development and an essential life skill. Twelve months on and we have a busy, buzzing little centre that also offers a full range of therapeutic interventions for all ages. Our latest programme is to tackle isolation in the elderly called ‘Time to Shine’.
“Looking back, there have been many times, when it’s been tough, I have questioned ‘is it worth it?’
“When I see the changes in people that they didn’t think were possible and children are given coping strategies that make a huge difference to their quality of life then the answer is, ‘of course it’s worth it!’
Jo added: “I must add that I haven’t made this journey alone: there have been many good friends, family and volunteers, lots of which have been on their own healing path, who have had a belief in me and the ‘cause’.
“I teach what my Reiki master taught me. It’s like dropping a pebble in a pond and watching the ripples; we are all pebbles and have that potential. Together we can make a difference, however it starts with, and within, us.”
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