People who use services provided by the Trust in Calderdale are learning new guitar skills thanks to the Trust’s Charitable Funds.
Funding has enabled Calderdale Insight support worker Alex Walker and Steve McGreavey at the Lyndhurst unit to share their own passion for guitars and help people who use these services build on existing talents or learn a totally new skill. The scheme provides basic music lessons with a guitar and teaches participants the theory and practical skills to play music, whilst also teaching basic guitar maintenance.
As well as providing the opportunity to learn a new skill, the guitar sessions act as a tool to encourage social interaction and a lifelong hobby. The scheme offers an opportunity for service users to take part in a therapeutic activity which is rewarding and teaches that commitment pays dividends. Appropriate support is given to help service users complete identified outcomes, but the sessions are also peer led, with other service users sharing their skills with the group. Advice is also available to any service users wanting to purchase a guitar to continue their own personal development outside the group.
Participants take part in an 8 week course and depending on the ability of the group sessions can include learning a few basic chords to tuning a guitar to learning a full song. Charitable Funds money has enabled the purchase of three electric guitar Epiphone les paul special player packs, which includes all the necessary equipment. Members of the group can either bring their own along or use the equipment available.
Benefits members experience include improved self-esteem, helping with anger management and encouraging social interaction through the love of a shared hobby. An added benefit is being able to influence members in an activity which rewards practice and hard work, which may even lead to service users exploring other hobbies and possibly undertaking music courses in the future.
Alex Walker said, “We’ve only been running for a few weeks, but you can already see the progress. It has helped boost the confidence of people who attend, both for those who already know how to play the guitar who are able to share their skills with other members of the group, and those learning to play guitar for the first time and benefiting learning new skills and progressing each week. It’s great to be able to share our passion for music and guitars to strum up the same enthusiasm in our service users and give them an alternative therapeutic activity to take part in. The group is all about sharing skills and learning together- in fact, I was taught by Steve so it’s just paying that forward and helping other people.”