Using music to share memories at new pilot project

Royal Voluntary Service's Men in the Workshop project, which is based in Wooler.
Royal Voluntary Service's Men in the Workshop project, which is based in Wooler.

A new charity project which will offer older people the chance to share memories through music is launching in north Northumberland.

Royal Voluntary Service is setting up Music and Memories, an exciting new project in communities throughout the county.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Music and Memories is targeted at older people.

Groups will be set up offering the opportunity to meet new people, share memories and become engaged in creative activities, whether it is playing a percussion instrument or joining in a sing-a-long.

Participants do not need to be musically talented, just willing to participate in friendly, fun events that offer the chance to try something new.

A pilot group will start in Rothbury on Thursday, January 28, at the Jubilee Hall between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

Sessions for the first month will be free and £3 thereafter. Light refreshments will be served. Booking in advance is not necessary.

Karen Renner, service manager, said: “This will be an important service for older people in the community.

“Our project will embrace the opportunity music offers to recall memories, participate in a creative group activity and engage in a meaningful past-time.

“More also needs to be done to combat social isolation and these groups will give people the opportunity to widen their social networks and feel part of their communities.

“Our groups will be open to anyone over 55 whether they have an existing interest in music or not.

“We also welcome anybody interested in assisting us. Volunteers who sign up can choose to dedicate as much or as little time to volunteering as they wish.”

For more information, contact Karen Renner on 07525 902269 or amber.pennington@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk
Tackling social isolation was one of the key goals behind another Royal Voluntary Service project, which was launched in north Northumberland in 2014.

Men in the Workshop, which aims to give older men from north Northumberland the opportunity to share and learn new woodwork skills and traditional crafts while benefitting from a social environment, is based at the Haugh Head Business Park in Wooler.

It was set up with help from the National Lottery and the People’s Millions and received further boosts last year with funding of £34,000 from the People’s Postcode Lottery, a donation of power tools from Hitachi and more funding and tools from Four Housing.

An example of the work the men have done is the construction of an owl box, built to a special ornithological design, for Wooler Common.

Originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Service in 1938 and formerly known as WRVS, Royal Voluntary Service has been helping people in Britain for more than 75 years.

It is one of the largest voluntary organisations in Britain with 40,000 men and women helping people in their homes, the community and hospitals.

For more information on the charity, visit www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk
For details about its projects in Northumberland, contact 01668 260248 or Northumberlandhub@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk