Soundcastle, a Hastings music group, has been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund to support their community music practice. Co-director Rachael Perrin tells HIP what life has been like for them during lockdown, and what they will be spending their money on.

As a creative music making organisation, we support community wellbeing, resilience, and connection. We are based in Hastings and run programmes on the South Coast, in East London and Bristol. We also run The Soundcastle Community – an international community of music facilitators and educators – all keen to support one another, share practice and celebrate community music together. 

Soundcastle have been delivering all our programmes live online throughout lockdown, supporting families and communities to keep singing and creating through the most challenging of times. Our flagship families programme – Musical Beacons – has reached families across all three of our regions. The London team have been offering open weekly sessions for families and inclusive sessions for families with children who have additional needs in partnership with Drake Music. The South East team have been collaborating with East Sussex Young Mothers Service –
Zooming into two safe houses in Eastbourne and Newhaven and making music with young women and their babies. This programme will hopefully be expanding to St Leonards in 2021. The Bristol team are setting up new partnerships, again to create inclusive spaces for families with young children, supporting creativity from day one.

Over in West Sussex the team have been continuing to facilitate our People’s Music Collective – an ensemble of adults on a journey of mental health recovery. This fantastic group have powered through online, written and recorded their first EP which is about to be released by Living Record Productions as part of Brighton Fringe. 

What a year it has been! The CRF grant is a fantastic vote of confidence from funders and gives us a very welcome boost of finance and energy to power through to summer 2021. It’s not been easy but the music we’ve been a part of has been something pretty special and we feel incredibly lucky to
have been surrounded by such generous, vulnerable and creative people.

This CRF grant will enable us to expand our practice and also to bring in a team of South Coast-based freelance fundraisers and specialists to support with our fundraising and sales strategies as we move out of this phase of emergency grants over the coming year.

In July 2021 we launched The Soundcastle Community – an online space which supports the wellbeing and development of community musicians from across the world. It’s a space for connection during a time of isolation and beyond. A place to share, to challenge and to be together. By supporting these practitioners to grow and thrive, we believe that the communities they support will be even better served.

We’re now plotting our way out of Zoom and back into the room. You can come and see what we’re up to on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @SoundcastleTeam or at soundcastle.co.uk


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