A DATING and relationships coach is drawing on her own experience to run seaside retreats where people can “learn to fall in love”.

Katherine Baldwin, formerly a political correspondent with the news agency Reuters, runs the events at Southbourne.

“I was 43 by the time I eventually committed to my fiance. I was for many years living in London and I kept having relationships that didn’t work out and I didn’t understand why,” she said.

“I was one of these people that everyone says ‘I can’t understand why you’re single’. I went on my own journey of discovery to work out where I was going wrong.”

Friends urged her to share what she had learned in psychotherapy and counselling, and she wrote a book – How to Fall in Love – in five weeks after moving to Bournemouth.

Her retreats – the fourth of which will run from October 12-15 – take place at the Artists’ Studio BnB in Southbourne. Small groups take part in guided walks, mindfulness meditations and diary-writing, as well as paddle-boarding to get them out of their comfort zone.

There are “letting go” rituals where people leave behind issues that have been holding them back. “It could be a past relationship. It could be a person who’s still in your head. It could be a belief about yourself,” said Katherine.

She said many of the exercises focused on building self-esteem and “learning to really love and care for yourself”.

“It’s very much about learning to be true to yourself and follow your heart. But as we do that, that’s often when we find the relationships we’ve been looking for,” she said.

Several participants have said the retreats were a turning point in their lives, with at least one starting a business afterwards, she said.

Heather Bicknell, 47, from Southbourne, went on a retreat in January this year.

“I wasn’t looking for love but I thought it may help in the future and the idea of a getaway and doing something just for me was the big appeal.,” she said.

“I hadn’t bargained on how much the two days would help me to learn more about myself and my relationships with those around me, and not just romantically.

“Katherine’s retreat helped me, amongst other things, to value myself and believe in myself again. I then turned my ‘one day I want to…’ into ‘Today I’m going to… start my own business!’,” she said.

“My passion for dog behaviour is now my business and I run Calluna Canines which offers dog walking, day care and boarding.”