Inspire receives Creative Scotland award!

We’re delighted to announce that Inspire 3 will continue for another two years with the support of a grant from Creative Scotland alongside our continued funding from The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and The Robertson Trust.

Our general music groups will continue with our partner projects, and we will be starting the Inspire Choir this autumn and supporting creative work by our participants.

Since February 2015 our groups have been singing, playing, performing and recording – our annual report will be available soon! In the meantime, here’s a flavour of what people in our groups have been saying:

‘Before [when I used to sing] I felt really self-conscious, but now I feel inside it, part of it.’

‘Depression is a terrible thing, ruins your life, but this group is helping me get my confidence back.’

‘I can’t believe what I’ve been missing this all this time.’

‘You’ve inspired me!’

And, as usual, they’ve all inspired us too!

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    Inspire 3 – call for experienced community music tutors!

    We hope to be starting Inspire 3 groups in partnership with various support organisations at the end of February 2015, and we currently have funding for these groups until summer 2015. We’re then hoping to have the funds to continue groups for a further two years from September 2015. If you are an experienced community music tutor who has worked with vulnerable adults and are interested in working with us, see SMG Inspire 3 call for tutors.

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      Inspire 3 starts!

      We’re delighted that we’ve been awarded 3-year funding for a 12-hours/week Development Worker by The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for Inspire 3. Sarah Northcott will continue in her role (from 19th August 2014), and she’ll now be contacting previous and potential partner projects and looking for funding for Inspire music groups and other Inspire activities.

      It is hoped that funding will be in place to start these groups early in 2015. We’ll be continually looking for support in providing resources for these groups – see our Donate page if you’re able to help!






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        Inspire stars!

        Inspire groups have been performing at several events recently. Many group members were performing for the first time, which is a very scary thing to do as anyone who has played, sung or spoken in public will know, and you can all be hugely proud of yourselves!

        The Cyrenians group kicked off an evening at Leith Folk Club recently with three songs, two of which they’d written themselves! They were fantastic, and very well received.

        cyrenians leith folk club 1 small

        Then all four groups performed songs at our Tradfest event at the Scottish Storytelling Centre – an event for all ages, as you can see from the photo below which features Scott Murray and his new pal guesting with the Alma group.

        alma at tradfest small

        We’re so pleased that people have taken up the challenge of performing, and very inspired by what they’ve achieved. This project isn’t a one-way street – myself and the tutors are equally encouraged, touched and impressed by the people who share our music in Inspire.


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          Rachel Newton & Laura-Beth Salter visit Alma!

          On 19th March we had a visit from 2 members of ‘The Shee’, Rachel Newton and Laura-Beth Salter at Alma. It felt like a concert in our ‘living room’ and they certainly used something like ‘fairy magic’ to enthrall the listeners. They played a mix of music including a gaelic song from Rachel, American tunes from Laura and some of their own material. There was an atmosphere of intimacy and the group seemed to appreciate being told about their backgrounds and professional paths. Both musicians allowed time for questions in between the varied music.

          Our thanks go to Laura and Rachel for being so generous in their sharing of their time and music – it was a special time which all of us at Alma really enjoyed.

          Rachel & Laura-Beth at Alma Project small

          Rachel & LB at Alma (photo: Scott Murray)

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            News from the Cyrenians group!

            Last Tuesday the weekly music group took place in the city community. Conrad and Amy from the Scots Music Group are visiting us every week from 4 to 5:30pm to go on in collecting ideas, suggestions and recording sounds for our own piece of music or just playing and singing together. Stacey, Karina (both residents from the city) and Annie from the farm joined us and after a short warm up we divided into two teams. Amy was leading the singing group and the rest, headed by Conrad, was contributing by thinking how the guitar, cello, drum tunes or beats can enhance the song. Finally we combined the results and recorded it. When the song is ready we will go to a studio and record what we created. It is always a pleasure to be together and make music in a team. Thanks to Conrad and Amy for providing the opportunity to us and for the effort in keeping this project alive.

            cyrenians blog picMUSIC GROUP FROM A DISTANCE!

            Earlier this year, one of the group told us:

            “My name is Annie and I am a resident at the Cyrenians Farm Community. I have long wanted to sing and find Amy and Conrad’s music group the perfect place to do so, it’s fun and fulfils the five a day rule by getting your weekly intake of oxygen into our lungs.I thoroughly enjoyed preparing for the Open day and am currently enjoying the making a song process. I hope to further this process in the future and am very grateful to those involved.”

            Thanks Annie!

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              Happy New Year from the Bethany group!

              Happy New Year to you all!
              The Bethany men’s music group met today and a cheery time was had by all. The men were very enthusiastic about music-making for 2013 and have now got busy diaries what with our Friday group, the Bethany drop-in, and Try It Oot!
              Bobby has the beginnings of a great new protest song – to the tune of Wild Rover – watch this space!
              We rocked on the ukes to Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond (uke interlude – Jimmy Hendrix eat your heart out), and made up several new verses to ‘The World Must be comin tae an end , och aye…’
              All in all a good start to 2013 and looking forward to much more to come.
              Scott, Gica, and the Boys

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                Inspire at Christmas

                Not all the Inspire groups have a Christmas party. For some folk, it’s a difficult time of year. But for others, the music groups are a chance to sing some seasonal songs and celebrate together.

                The Alma group spent their last meeting of the year singing all sorts of carols, including a new carol created by the guitar group. And today Inspire was back at the Bethany Men’s Drop-in for their Christmas lunch.

                By contrast, the Rock Trust drop-in was resounding to the sounds of The Proclaimers, Johnny Cash and Michelle Shocked.

                The Cyrenians had an open day last week, serving mince pies and decorating their tree, and the music group’s performance was the highlight of the afternoon. Along with renditions of Anyone Else But You and Loch Lomond, we all sang a verse of Silent Night in six languages (helped by the volunteers who come from all over the world). This week they’ve been reflecting on the music group…

                “So far in music we have sung a few good songs like Loch Lomond, which I loved!” (Raymond, resident)

                “At first I wasn’t so enthusiastic on playing the guitar but after some perseverance I’m slowly getting the hang of it.” (Sarah, resident)

                “I really enjoyed the music sessions…The way we learned it was very interesting because we focused on practice rather than theory. It was also the occasion to create new bonds with other volunteers and residents.” (Raf, volunteer)

                Inspire would like to wish everyone a safe, warm and peaceful holiday season, and we look forward to much more music in 2013.


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                  Inspire at Scotland Sings!

                  Members of two Inspire groups took part in the Scotland Sings drop-in afternoon at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Friday, hosted by Mairi Campbell. Around 60 members of the public came along to share songs and to sing some of their own, and the atmosphere was informal and welcoming – the perfect place for the Bethany men to make their public ukelele debut! The men sang several songs, including “Men of Bethany” and “I Thought I Had No Voice”, songs created by tutor Scott from participants’ comments during Inspire 1. Frank also treated us to songs from his extraordinary repertoire.

                  The Bethany men are pictured below, along with Inspire tutors Gica & Ruth.

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                    Inspire nominated for Trad Music Award!

                    The Inspire Project has been nominated for a Trad Music Award in the community project category! And Inspire tutor Scott Murray has been nominated for tutor and Scots singer! We’re all delighted.

                    To vote, go to – you don’t have to give your email address and you don’t have to vote in every category.



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