North Ayrshire Recovery College’s 12-week African drumming course culminated in an open workshop on Wed 12 Feb at Ardrossan Nazarene Church. Family and friends came to hear a short performance piece and to participate in a community drum circle workshop. Everyone had smiles on their faces as they joined the groove and found their rhythms.

The course led by Dr Jane Bentley, a renowned community drum circle facilitator, was funded by the Alliance Self-Management Fund. The project involved not only training new drummers but involved the development of three trainee drum facilitators. RAMH who co-ordinate the Recovery College on behalf of North Ayrshire HSCP, also contributed funding for the trainees to attend a 3 day residential drumming training course to enhance their learning.

Irvine based musician, Michelle Connelly said “As a musician I’ve always loved seeing people enjoy music. When I took up the trainee position with Recovery College I never realised how ‘life giving’ it would be. Seeing people’s confidence grow has been the highlight of my experience.”

Jeanette Allan, Recovery College Co-ordinator is delighted with the outcomes. Jeanette and Jane co-founded the Paisley based drumming group ‘The Buddy Beat’ which is now in it’s 12th year. “I know how amazing drumming is for good mental health and it has been a delight to partner with Jane and Buddy Beat again and to witness the development of the drummers over the course and to see the skill development in our fledgling facilitators.”

A new block of workshops start on the 4th March and the group need to source their own djembe drums. If anyone is looking for a home for a djembe gathering dust or have some percussion instruments they can donate, please contact the Recovery College office on 01294 447355

All the participants have gained confidence, increased their connectedness with each other and discovered the joy of drumming. Community groups have already been in touch asking for a taster workshop. The emerging group have now named themselves ‘Drum 4UR Life!’

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