Brightlingsea WinterFest has announced inclusivity as its theme for this year's event.

With the festival fast approaching, the line-up will see a total of 40 events spanning throughout February leading into early March taking place throughout the town, ensuring a suitable activity for everyone.

This year, the festival organisers aim to go beyond their regular offerings and have prioritised inclusivity.

Physiotherapist, Nicola Stephens, who runs her own practice in Brightlingsea, has been enlisted as a key member of the WinterFest volunteering team.

She said: "I love all that WinterFest stands for: promoting the arts as a pathway to better mental wellbeing and raising awareness of mental health is vital in our modern world.

"I’m delighted to be volunteering with WinterFest, giving particular support for the festival’s Wellbeing Day with physiotherapy Q&A sessions and a get fit for gardening workshop.

"I have also taken on the role of promoting inclusivity in WinterFest.

"I have a teenage daughter who is autistic and through both my family links and my work I see many disabled people struggle to engage with community events.

"The aim is to improve inclusivity at WinterFest, using more venues that are accessible, live streaming events where access is difficult and providing support where possible for people to attend.

"I hope that everyone, no matter what their situation, can find an event within WinterFest that they can access and enjoy."

WinterFest has made its mark as an annual fixture on the Brightlingsea social calendar, successfully lifting winter spirits and fostering community bonds over the past nine years.

The festival showcases a diverse range of music, arts and spoken word events, most of which are free to attend.

Money raised from donations feed back into the local community through the WinterFest Wellbeing Fund, which provides grants to residents and local groups.

WinterFest will feature concerts, a comedy night, walking sessions, a running event, wellbeing day, museum open days and a rum and reggae night among others.

More definitive details for all events can be found on the WinterFest website and Facebook page.