I’m Brigid Hayward, the founder of Catalyst Matchmaking.
When I was single, I started out as a sprightly, enthusiastic social butterfly. But after three years of getting nowhere near a good relationship online, it wore me down. The lack of communication, lack of meeting people in the flesh, and meeting ‘real’ people who had lied and misrepresented themselves really got to me.
I lacked energy and enthusiasm, and my confidence really waned. Back then I would have loved some help and support or another opinion. Many single people – and women especially – have come to us very downhearted, despairing of dating online.
Bringing dating back into the real world
In the past three years I have organised more than 50 successful dinner-dating events across Norfolk and Suffolk, and have registered more than 600 people on my books. Much as I thoroughly enjoyed organising the dinner-dating events, and the many success stories that they generated, I felt that there was a need to offer a more personal, holistic and supportive matchmaking journey to help people find true happiness with a great partner.
My team’s philosophy is to take dating back offline (other than signing up through this website!) and to encourage you to look up from your phone, see who is around you and engage with them.
Giving an old tradition a modern twist
Using a matchmaker, or attending one of our social events for single people, might feel intimidating at first. But it’s nothing new – matchmaking is a tradition that goes back centuries in many communities. However, we take a modern approach to finding love; we don’t believe you should go for the first person you meet just because you seem a good match on paper.
Our matchmaking model is about meeting lots of potential partners. All are chosen carefully to be more likely to be a match, but based on the principle that meeting more people will give you a better idea of what you are looking for.
Let us be your catalyst
And what’s the story behind the name ‘Catalyst Matchmaking’? Well, it’s perfectly possible to meet a partner without help; people do it every day. The beauty of a matchmaker, however, is that they speed up the process of finding someone, like a catalyst in a chemical reaction.
Once you’ve registered and one of our team has met you, we will play the role of a ‘best friend’ to potential matches. We will sing your praises and accentuate your most positive characteristics in a way that you might find difficult to do yourself. We look forward to helping you on your journey!
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Our success stories
Meet our team
Hi, I’m Brigid, founder of Catalyst Matchmaking. I’ve been professionally matchmaking for the last few years, but spent many years informally playing Cupid for friends and family, with great success.
My desire to start Catalyst Matchmaking is rooted in my own experiences of dating more than 20 years ago, and how much more difficult it seems to be to meet people now, ironically despite the explosion of online dating and supposedly having thousands of people at our fingertips. The more connected we are by technology, the harder it can feel to make real connections.
I actually met my husband, Marcus, online back when it was only just becoming a thing. Before him, though, I wasted a lot of time meeting men I could have done without meeting. At this point I was going into my late 30s and starting to feel down about the whole thing. Even though I knew I was a sociable person, I found bad dating experiences were sapping my confidence. I know from many of my clients that this is a familiar situation.
In hindsight, I wonder if I had signed up to a matchmaking service, would my life have been different? At the time I didn’t realise what a valuable investment it could’ve been for me. Ironically, I didn’t think anyone could have better judgement on my love life than myself.
Before I met Marcus, I started to host dinner parties for fun. I would invite single female friends and ask them to bring along a single male friend each – someone they could vouch for but didn’t fancy. I held three parties, as a result of which three couples are now married.
Why did I finally take the plunge to become a matchmaker? In 2013 I discovered I had breast cancer, which led to two difficult years of treatment and recovery. It’s impossible not to be changed by a cancer diagnosis; it made me want to live, and to grasp every opportunity without fear. Now I want to help other people to live their lives to the full. I’d love to help you change your life and find lasting love.
James PreeceDating Coach
James is one of the UK’s leading dating experts and dating coaches. He has been working in the industry for 15 years and is involved in areas such as personal dating coaching, online dating, singles events, and consulting for many dating companies.
He is a highly experienced relationship expert and has helped thousands of men and women find love, build confidence and improve their relationships. James regularly features in top UK and international media, such as The Independent, Cosmopolitan, OK! Magazine, Men’s Health and The Sun.
He has clients all over the world and is the author of 15 dating books, including the Amazon number-one bestselling online dating guide I Will Make You Click!
Alan has been a photographer for 44 years. He has established himself as a portraitist and headshot specialist working from his studio in a thatched barn near Beccles.
He can meet you in Norwich to take casual shots in your everyday surroundings. He is welcoming and easy to work with, and has a natural flair for getting great images that you will love.
To learn more about his work, check out Alan’s website.