April 2024 Open Monthly Meeting

Promoting Health through Music in North Cornwall and Devon is the ambition of a small charity with a wide reach. Three Trustees from the Sound Waves South West Music and Music Therapy Trust, otherwise known as SWSW, described their work to the well-attended April meeting of the Bude U3A.

The Chairman, Jen Ash, said that SWSW was founded in 2001 and currently focuses on four activities, reaching out to schools within fifty miles of Bude. Firstly the charity funds some provision of music therapy for children in special units in local schools. Children are encouraged to make music in one-to-one sessions with state-registered therapists employed by the Cornwall Music Service Trust. This helps the children to become more aware of their emotions and to develop their communication. Referrals are made to the charity by the school.

Another Trustee, David Puddick, runs the second activity, the Instrument Loan Scheme. Musical
instruments are provided free of charge and without a deposit to children receiving formal lessons, so that cost does not form a barrier to learning an instrument. This is an important financial support to the family as the child beginning with a scaled-down student cello or violin will need a larger instrument as they grow. The charity owns around 200 instruments, mainly strings and woodwind, and makes sure they are in good order before being loaned out at the beginning of the academic year. Collecting a donation of several cellos complete with cases and bows presented David with quite a logistical challenge!

SWSW’s third work strand is an annual event, a week of music workshops in schools with musicians trained to work with children and involve them with the music. Last year a brass ensemble, Back Chat Brass, performed at sessions in fourteen local schools, involving over 1200 children.

Finally, SWSW makes an annual award to a young person demonstrating musical achievement. As well as achieving exceptional improvement they must have contributed substantially to music in their community and overcome difficulties to do so. Nominations are currently being invited for this award
with full information on their website https://www.soundwaves-sw.co.uk/.

All this work is supported by donations, fundraising, applying for grants, and Friends of the charity. SWSW’s Treasurer, U3A member Sue Kershaw, rounded off Jen and David’s talk by describing a recent initiative, registering with Easyfundraising.org so that online shoppers with certain retailers can nominate the charity for a donation from the retailer. The three speakers were congratulated on the work of their charity with appreciative applause

Also at the April meeting, the Gardening Group held their annual plant sale, where many garden and house plants exchanged hands! Members were also reminded that the croquet season is beginning and that the croquet group is open to new members. More information about U3A events and activity groups can be found at https://budeu3a.co.uk/ .

At the next monthly meeting on 23rd May U3A member Tish Beamish will be talking about her
experiences at an orphanage in Kenya, which she visits every year. 23rd May is the fourth Thursday of the month instead of the usual third Thursday.

There will be no monthly meeting in August