Jiggling jellyfish in Cumbria

Nicky Goulder, Chief Executive (in red) making music at Sandgate School
Nicky Goulder, Chief Executive (in red) at Sandgate School

Winning the Clarins Most Dynamisante Woman of the Year Award in June, as I did, has had two significant impacts on Create: a four-page feature in the 16 June issue of You Magazine that helped to raise the charity’s profile; and the amazing £30,000 prize money, which is enabling us to run exploring:sounds sensory music residencies in six special schools.

I spent a magical day yesterday at Sandgate School in Kendal, Cumbria where two of our professional musicians are exploring:sounds for a week with all 65 children: magical because of the children’s excitement at seeing and playing unfamiliar instruments; magical because of the journey they went on through a wood with a wishing well, meeting creatures under the sea, clambering up a rugged cliff and experiencing life from a hang glider; magical because of the impact this musical journey had in bringing together the children and staff creatively.

What a joyful privilege to hear nine year old Hannah* scream with glee as she felt the vibrations from Matt’s clarinet; help seven year old David* play a short solo on an octachime; be part of a music-making experience in which crocodiles snap and jellyfish jiggle; and see children around the room relax to an improvised piece of music that they interpreted in different, poetic ways.  For 12 year old Rob*, “it was like being in the desert in Egypt; it made me happy“.

Special schools are very special places to be.  I am constantly inspired by the creativity of the children; the care, commitment and dedication of the staff; and the benefit of taking in the very best of what Create has to offer so that the children and staff can work together in new ways.

Thank you to Clarins for the amazing award and to Cumberland Building Society Charitable Foundation and Proven Family Trust for providing the additional funding needed to take us to Cumbria for the week.

Nicky Goulder, Chief Executive

* names changed to protect anonymity