We are a Not for Profit Arts for Health Organisation run entirely by unpaid volunteers.
We have had all our bookings cancelled and have had to cancel all our activities that would earn income to pay our rent and other overheads. Although we are continuing ‘virtually’ to support our users, our income has ceased and we still have to pay rent and other fixed running costs.
We ceased our ‘activities’ on 17th March, and have continued virtually to support our service users to continue to drum and keep physically active at home and provide support to those in isolation. Many of our members have received the ‘12 week isolation letter’ and are feeling even more vulnerable than ever. We are keeping our weekly sessions going ‘virtually’ for the duration.
We have sent out sewing patterns, so some of our volunteers can start making face masks for those who require them. We will be creating other arts projects to keep those in isolation busy over the next 12 weeks.
Before the lockdown we ran regular African drumming sessions, we delivered workshops and performed at many local community and charity events. Drumming and performance is a powerful music-making experience, a therapeutic intervention achieving health-oriented, non-musical goals. Drumming enables one to disengage from mental activity and brings participants 100% into the present, giving relief from mental stress. Our members are people with hidden disabilities. Our emphasis is on inclusion, portraying disabilities in a positive light, on having fun and giving pleasure to others through our performance.
Once this crisis is over people will go back to work and to social circles this is when the enormity of this pandemic will affect many. People will hear of family, friends, work colleagues who have died, we will all know of someone who has died; many will struggle to make sense of it all and have no outlet to grieve. Some people will be suffering from survivor guilt and some people will suffer panic attacks; others will be craving for group activity after such a long period of isolation. We wish to be in a position that once the country returns to ‘normality’ that we are there, ready, and that our doors are open for our existing users and new members to come and join us for a fun stress busting activity.
By enabling us with funding, to continue virtually at present, we will be ready for group activities the minute the crisis is over and also we will be performance ready when the curfew and ban on events is lifted to provide much needed entertainment in the community.