Meet Emily, a carer from Manchester

Participants from our creative voices project in Manchester Cheetham Hill

creative:voices is Create’s multi-artform programme that enables adult carers to take a creative break from their caring responsibilities, build trusting relationships with their peers and develop communication skills, new interests and confidence.

From April to June 2022, carers from Manchester took part in six weeks of music workshops with our professional musician Holly Marland.

Adult carer Emily (25) told us about her experiences.

“Being creative can be done in any way, shape or form, so take a chance to do something you enjoy or something you’ve never done before.”

Emily (25), carer and Create participant

“I care for my mum. She’s got a visual impairment, which she’s had since she was a child. It’s slowly getting worse. So I’m just helping her as best I can.

“The responsibility has grown a bit. There might be times where I’ve had to cancel a plan because I’ve had to take her to an appointment, or I might have to go and meet her somewhere because it’s getting dark. It’s just wanting to make sure she’s alright. “It’s life, isn’t it. Sacrifices have had to be made. But then I am fortunate that I am able to go out and do a few things for myself, because some carers can’t even do that.”

Making masterpieces

“On this project we created pieces of music using a variety of instruments, whether it be drums, strings, keys. We’ve created beautiful masterpieces, all different styles and different interpretations.

“My brother’s got a keyboard, and my mum used to play the piano when she was younger. I just think it sounds really, really nice. I don’t know the technicality of all the keys and everything, but I’m here to learn. It’s been nice to advance a bit more on my skills. I just tried pressing keys to see what sounded good, and exploring the different sounds. The only way you’ll learn is by trying something, and keep trying until you find something you like.

Making music on our creative voices project in Manchester Cheetham Hill

“I’ve enjoyed everything about the project. I’ve enjoyed being with everybody and having great leaders – Holly [Create musician] and Andy [Wai Yin Welcome Centre volunteer] – and then hearing everybody coming together and creating different music. It’s just lovely. It’s gone so fast.

“Everybody has really come together and it’s nice spending time with everyone. And that’s what it’s all about, especially the last couple of years we’ve had, everybody being locked up and everything. It’s just nice to spend time with people and create music.

“Holly is lovely. She’s so welcoming and smiley. Seeing her smile makes me smile. She’s so engaging as well, you wanted to hear what she’s got to say. She’s helpful, because obviously she knows her music. She’s not like ‘Argh you’ve done it wrong’, she’s like ‘Why don’t you try it like this?’ It’s encouraging.”

Trying something new

“I’m quite a creative person anyway, but it’s nice to try something new. I’ve dabbled a bit with instruments, but not anything to this extent, so it’s been really nice to be creative in a way that I’ve not really done before. I’ve done dance since I was a child, too, and I do acting.

“What you create is beautiful. Being creative can be done in any way, shape or form, so take a chance to do something you enjoy or something you’ve never done before and explore something new and see if you like it. Then if you don’t like it you can say ‘I tried’.

“Everybody’s caring situation is very different, but just being able to have time with people who are in similar situations, just coming together and being there for one another … we’re all in the same boat. There are no judgements. When you’re with a group of carers it’s like everyone is understanding and I think that’s really important. It’s nice for carers to have that bit of time to do something new.”

Listen to the group’s performance on the final day of the project.

This project is funded by The Smiles Fund, awarding funds from Walkers and Comic Relief.

More about creative:voices

Making music on our creative voices project in Manchester Cheetham Hill

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