The conventional support offered to those with special needs within our communities is in need of some refreshment. The Notables, a Coventry based band made up of musicians and members with disabilities, is certainly that.
Creative and innovative approaches to care like this can ensure greater well-being and cohesion across our society. Music is a liberator, everyone has the same propensity to enjoy it and the experience of making it or being part of it should be available to all.
Interestingly, these ‘creative and innovative’ approaches are actually regular for most of us, we know that being part of a team whether that’s in sports, music or otherwise is good for people. It encourages confidence, camaraderie, routine and fun. In fact, these things are so normal, that sometimes it’s easy to forget how essential these more obvious opportunities can be for personal growth and happiness.
This knowledge also applies to those who have more complex needs too, where traditionally society has thought to treat them differently, there can be greater benefit found in treating them the same.
The Notables meet every week to plan and practice an extensive repertoire of well known songs that have won them support in their area and love at many festivals. Professional musicians manage the sessions, helping those with complex social needs to piece together successful recordings and public performances.
In light of COVID one of the unintended consequences of keeping the public safe from the virus has been social isolation. This was a challenge for most of us, especially so for the members of our communities already marginalised. Felix Lunt from the Notables, set up a crowdfunding campaign to help the band adapt and find other ways in which they could “relieve the social isolation of band members and families during the COVID-19 lockdown”.
(The Notables crowdfunding video)
Coventry City Council in response to the pandemic launched the Crowdfund Coventry initiative.
+Extra funding to those in the culture and sports sector who have been adversely affected by COVID-19. Funding to help Coventry’s businesses and residents access an immediate alternative revenue stream and a community of support.
With £1,000 of match funding from Coventry City Council, the Notables managed to raise a total of £2,085 from 42 supporters. As Felix says, this money has been put to good use, “supporting the band’s work during COVID-19 and developing socially-distanced ways of keeping members engaged”. The Notables are now keeping their community intact through ‘zoom sing along sessions,’ ‘outdoor practices,’ ‘whatsapp based tomato growing competitions’ and much more besides.
(A socially distanced outdoors meet-up)
Crowdfunding offered them a chance to celebrate their music and connect with their audience on a new level. All of those who’ve enjoyed their performances and seen what they stand for were able to participate in the band’s future by contributing to their crowdfunding campaign.
(Band member Harry recording some vocals from home)
Crowdfunding not only sourced the funds they needed to adapt but the press around the campaign picked up by the Coventry Telegraph, will have inspired many more people to join them or find the confidence to improve their own situation.
While adapting to the times has been tough, the Notables mission to ‘break down boundaries to participation, challenge common misconceptions and support positive community integration and cultural diversity’ continues and is one that we believe can stand the test of the pandemic.