“I love music. If my mental health is not good, music always helps me.” ESYPS resident
Following 18 months of making music in supported accommodation for young parents and their children, we’ve taken a moment to reflect on our brilliant local partnerships and the vital importance of providing safe havens for young people in challenging circumstances.
At Soundcastle, we know that music making can promote positive mental health and social connection, especially for the most vulnerable members of our society. That’s why we take our programme Musical Beacons to the hidden corners, the unseen places, to the people who need it most.
We are lucky to work with two fantastic partners in East Sussex – Turner House in Hastings and East Sussex Young Parents’ Service (ESYPS) in Newhaven and Eastbourne. These essential services provide supported living accommodation for single young mums/parents and their young children. The houses serve not only as a pathway to independent living but as a safe haven, a sanctuary for those wishing to break away from cycles of abuse, neglect and trauma and build healthy, happy lives for both themselves and their children. While our partners bring security, safety and essential skills building, Soundcastle’s role is to bring joy! Every week, we visit, gather the residents in their living room and make music together.
Musical Beacons sessions are designed to support young parents to develop confidence, communication skills, playfulness and bonding with their children through making music at home. Together, we sing familiar songs, explore musical instruments, play sensory games and co-create our own original mini songs.
“I think it’s interaction with our kids. You know music is something every child enjoys so it gives us the chance to interact with them and for them to interact with us and do something that everyone enjoys.” ESYPS resident
If you haven’t had the privilege of a playful childhood, it can be hard to then be playful when you have a child of your own. So a big purpose of Musical Beacons is simply to bring joy, silliness and fun – whether it’s playing peek-a-boo behind some brightly coloured scarves or creating an ocean under a parachute… or simply making a joyful, messy noise together on a whole variety of musical instruments and revelling in the power of group dynamics – the point is to play!
You can listen to some of the beautiful, playful mess of Musical Beacons on SoundCloud:
Recently, we had an extra special session which was just with two young parents. Their children were in nursery and so we decided to co-write a song for them – a message from parent to child. Through this process, the residents opened up about their own challenging journeys to this point, moving from insecurity in their parenting abilities to knowing now whole-heartedly that they are their child’s safe place.
This song beautifully summarises the hard work and dedication of services like ESYPS and Turner House in keeping so many young people and their children safe and supporting parenting bonds to strengthen and grow for the years to come. It is a privilege to partner with them and make music in their settings.
You can listen to ‘Always There’ co-written with residents of ESYPS on SoundCloud:
Mystical love, I can’t believe you’re here,
Rainbow after the storm
Spec of glitter always there,
People may come and go,
But know that you’re safe,
Know you can come to me,
And I’ll be there for you.