We are delighted to announce that Culture Quest (CQ) has been awarded £10,000 by Norwich Consolidated Charities. As a result, the music appreciation group with people with complex mental health problems who live in Norwich can continue to meet weekly at Norwich ARts Centre for another year. We can also extend our research with UEA psychologist Dr Victoria Scaife so that we have 18 months of decent data to help us plan for the future; Dr Scaife’s interim report suggests that participants feel less isolated and more resilient as a result of attending the group.
CQ is a simple, innovative, cost-effective way to connect very marginalised local people with each other, with their love of music, and with great cultural resources in Norwich. It addresses needs such as loneliness, mental illness, social exclusion. CQ fits with the Recovery agenda that underpins NSFT strategy, and Norfolk County Council Health and Wellbeing Strategy’s theme of Improving Mental Health. We think that CQ can be part of the local offer to people on personal health budgets through clinical commissioning groups, and we will be working up a business plan with that in view.
Here is what we know so far.
- CQ plays to people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses because the focus is on a shared love of music. A support worker says: ”It has really helped my clients to make friends, socialise and have something positive to do.”
- CQ is accessible to mentally ill people who love music and use it to feel good. One member says “I think it is a good way to help people through music.”
- CQ is safe. One member says:” I have no worries about CQ, it is a friendly place to come and everybody is very friendly.” People can participate even though their symptoms may be active.
- CQ connects people. One person says: “I like being in a group of people in different situations.”
- CQ encourages tolerance. A member says: ”The thing that attracts me to CQ is different pieces of music that people bring in each session.”
- CQ enables curiosity. One person says: ‘It is good to hear some weirder more experimental stuff.”
- People share a small part of themselves through their choices. One member plays his own mixes, another played a track her boyfriend had written and recorded.
- Members pay a small fee, thereby giving to the project.
- Members are included in local culture. They ‘belong’ at Norwich Arts Centre; subsidised tickets and support enabled one person to attend his first concert in 30 years (Max Richter, Theatre Royal); one heard his first live orchestra (Britton Sinfonia, St Andrews Hall); legendary session musician B J Cole led a workshop.
- CQ normalises engagement with very marginalised people at Norwich Arts Centre, contributing to NAC and Arts Council England aims of ‘Great art and culture for everyone.
INFORMATION FOR EDITORS
CQ partners are Norwich Arts Centre, Julian Support and the Restoration Trust.
The Music Appreciation Group is run by Dave Pullin.
CQ is managed by Laura Drysdale and enquiries should be addressed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org