Creating Musical Participation

Our Community Enterprise Catalyst for Dorset, Anita Wingad, talks about how she helped Caroline Pugh to get going with her new venture ‘Creating Musical Participation’.

I really value having my posters up in the local hamlets / villages – it raises awareness, promotes discussions and sometimes people mentally note the information and use it in the future. This is exactly what Caroline did, she had seen the poster on the village notice board in the previous spring and with her retirement approaching, she decided that now was the time to embark on setting up an enterprise of her own.

I had been thinking about a new venture to take on after taking early retirement from a long music teaching career, and it was very interesting to spot a poster in my village introducing Community Catalysts. Interestingly, lock down gave me the opportunity to begin more definite thoughts about my idea and to get in contact with Anita Wingad to ask if she felt it was a suitable venture to support.

Caroline’s vision was to take music out and about into the communities, particularly to people who may be cut off and unable to enjoy their musical passions.

I knew that I really wanted to work more on a 1:1 basis, enabling people to have a more personal experience, and particularly to enjoy playing or singing pieces that are special favourites, and so the idea for Creating Musical Participation evolved.

Creating Musical Participation is much more than a pastime or business for Caroline and before I met her, she had already spent a lot of time exploring the evidence and research surrounding the tangible value of music, particularly around the benefits for older people and those who are struggling with their mental health.

There is a lot of research demonstrating how music can really help patients with dementia, and as this year I was working part time, I used the extra time not only to do some courses through Future Learn to gain experience of different dementias, but also to lead some music sessions in residential care homes too.

At Community Catalysts, we offer a programme of support to people like Caroline, who want to set up small enterprises and ventures of their own. The initial 2 year programme provided face to face support to people in Dorset- we have now moved to a tailored approach online in which Community Catalysts can continue to tailor around the person we’re working with.

Caroline worked through the required policies and procedures and had all the other requirements in place within 8 weeks.

I would like to say a huge “thank you” to Anita for her encouragement and help in so many ways, because after 35 years in teaching, starting my own business was a completely new and exciting as well as daunting process.

As part of the programme of support we chatted about local opportunities for Caroline to promote her business which included her connecting with health workers and the local Social Prescribing team. We also pooled our joint local knowledge to identify clusters of potential customers.