Skye vulnerable communities set for summer of song and dance

Concerts held in June at An Acarsaid care home in Broadford brought a smile to residents and staff alike. All photos taken from concerts held on 18th and 25th June.

Some of Skye’s most vulnerable communities will have the chance to enjoy music concerts and cèilidhs this summer thanks to a new project.

Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government Wellbeing Fund, service users, residents, staff, volunteers, and families of Home Farm and Budhmor care homes in Portree, An Arcasaid in Broadford, and Skye and Lochalsh Association for Disability – Kyleakin Connections – will benefit from a new two-month project of individually tailored music concerts and cèilidhs.

Participants will be encouraged to use memories, stories, and songs as a way to maximise involvement in the sessions.

Devised and procured by SEALL, the Skye-based performing arts promotion charity, the project called ‘SEALL at Home’, will involve weekly live and interactive music sessions which will be delivered by professional musicians via digital technology.

At the end of the project, and in response to the live concerts, the musicians will then record individualised playlists of the most requested songs to be enjoyed by participants in their own time, long after the project has finished.

SEALL creative director Marie Lewis said: “This Coronavirus pandemic has had such a devastating effect on the lives of all of us, especially older people and vulnerable groups, and we wanted to do something positive and within our charitable aims to help spread a bit of joy.

“We were so delighted to have received this funding for the project from the Scottish Government Wellbeing Fund.

“As a cultural organisation with 28 years’ experience working with our communities, we are keen to respond positively and creatively to the crisis.

“We realise we are not a charity that delivers vital health or response services but it is important to us to do whatever we can to help the physical and mental wellbeing of our communities and do something that will affect people’s lives in a very positive way.”

Marie went on to add: “We have identified musicians that are experienced in working with vulnerable groups, know many of the participants involved, and have an in-depth knowledge of the local tune and song repertoire.

“We anticipate the activity will provide positive respite from feelings of isolation, a weekly routine, develop a better understanding of one another and improve physical and mental health and wellbeing of all the participants.”

Marie said that although the project is a crisis response, there is every hope and intention of continuing the work well into the future.

“We began a programme of live events at Home Farm last year which was very well received,” she said.

“Unfortunately, owing to Covid-19, we had to pull the 2020 events and find ways to reinvent tactics so that we can continue to provide this service.

“Thanks to this funding, we now have the means.”