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Last year we heard from Eddie Armer, who volunteers at West Kent Mind and is the author of two books for Search Press, about his thoughts on creativity and mental health. This year we hear a little about Eddie’s other creative love, music. Eddie is raising money for West Kent Mind, if you’d like to donate, please visit his JustGiving page.

Don’t forget to check out the Mental Health Foundation, to learn more about what you can do to support your own and mental health and the mental health of others in your community.

 

My association with West Kent Mind goes back many years, and as we begin Mental Health Awareness Week, I am very excited because our music group will once again be able to meet up for the first time in ages!

West Kent Mind’s on-going music project is called the 'Skiffle Express’ and has been running since 2011. The group members are adults with a diverse range of mental health issues, and it has been my pleasure to be part of this project from the beginning.

Members are encouraged to engage and make music within the group and for two hours or so, personal problems are put aside, and spirits lifted as the endorphins start to flow.

It doesn’t matter if someone considers themselves to be non-musical, as the ‘therapy’ is taking part.

 

Why Skiffle?

The choice of skiffle as a musical vehicle was deliberate because of its inclusivity and ‘anyone can have a go attitude’.

If you are new to our group and a non-musician, you are unlikely to pick up and play an instrument, but if offered the chance to pluck a length of washing line, attached to a broom handle attached to an old tea chest, you may accept. The tea-chest bass has great comic value, but it is not to be underestimated as it is quite capable of sounding like a double bass. No self-respecting skiffle band should be without one.

The skiffle phenomenon emerged from an austere post-war 1950s Britain. Bereft of musical instruments, teenagers began to improvise and produce home-made instruments to play music. Readily available washboards and a homemade tea-chest bass provided the solid rhythm and the unmistakable skiffle sound for so many groups.

West Kent Mind

The West Kent Mind Music project (Skiffle Express) is led by me and a team of dedicated volunteers. We ‘skiffle’ at St Luke’s church hall in Sevenoaks, where we will make a glorious noise, sharing laughs, and leaving all our cares and woes at the door.

If you would like to support West Kent Mind and their work within the community, please donate to my JustGiving page.

THANK YOU!

Eddie can be seen here at the Skiffle for Change project, a music group founded for service users at West Kent Mind and funded in part by Time to Change, a growing social movement working to end mental health discrimination. For more information on Mind in the West Kent area and to access services they provide visit their website.

West Kent Mind Logo

Eddie lives in Kent, UK, and works with vulnerable adults through art and music. He also writes about drawing and is a contributor to Artist and Illustrator Magazine. He believes creativity in art and music are intrinsically linked.

  

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