Creative Castlemilk Taiko

This programme was funded by the Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow fund through Impact Funding Partners.

Below are some short case studies from people who attended this group.

A. came to our taiko group because she was already doing voluntary work with Cassiltoun HA. She has a long background as a carer, especially for a young person. For six years she had cared for family members, a task that took all of her time and energy, leaving little if anything for her. She had fulfilled that role from when she was fifteen years old. She had not recognised how important and useful she was as she had felt a failure at school and more or less stopped going at that age. Another thing that contributed to her leaving school early was bullying. She had been bullied because she was a carer. She was bullied because she devoted herself and her time to looking after her family. “Coming to Taiko has given me confidence” she said. She also reported that her communication skills had improved and her willingness to speak up and ask questions. Previously she had always thought she was stupid and her questions were “not the right ones”. A. reported that the artist/teacher was really important. She compared him very favourably with all other “teachers” she had experienced. His supportive approach and ease with the group was especially important to her. Another aspect that A. highlighted was the benefit of working in a group and how supporting she found that dynamic. She emphasised the importance of the group not just seeing everyone as individuals. One of the most telling things that A. was keen to tell us was that the confidence that she has gained is not only for the time she is with Theatre Nemo and the group, it is a permanent change that she now feels in every aspect of her life. “Confidence sticks with people you know.”

L. has recently moved to Castlemilk having grown up in one of the leafier suburbs outside Glasgow. She knew that she was not part of the traditional community of Castlemilk and wanted to engage and feel involved. L. has had a variety of jobs and voluntary positions over the years but had primarily been a carer for her parents. She had no siblings to support her in that and did not have a partner either. She had felt very alone. When she moved to the Castlemilk area she realised that there was a real possibility of community spirit and that she could seek ways to join in with that or in effect be isolated. “You can live anywhere but need to do more” she said. Theatre Nemo and the Taiko drumming was an important part of that new engagement, in meeting people, having fun, enjoying being part of something and not being alone and isolated. L. brought more than she realised to the group as she had a wide range of experiences that she did not seem at first to have the confidence to value. Previously she had worked as a volunteer with Scottish Action for Refugees and had also worked in HMP Barlinnie. L. said, “This is a very big part of re-joining life” “It makes me feel alive” “It is not just banging drums, it is making friends”. L. complimented Hugh on his skills as a facilitator and teacher and mentioned that the collaboration with Cassiltoun Housing Association (CHA) was important too as through it she met Paddy the CHA outreach officer. That again provided her with more opportunities to engage with the community and feel part of things and valued. L. came to Theatre Nemo and the Taiko drumming with a positive attitude and felt that it had done what she hoped it would do and more. She said “I moved house to get a new start, and this is an important part of it” L’s last comment was that she was “also feeling the benefit of the physical workout” referring to the very physical nature of Taiko Drumming.

B. is a retired person who has experienced a stroke. His mobility had been severely impacted. He had been in hospital for 6 weeks recovering from his stroke but even than he left with limited mobility. Since retirement and prior to his stroke he had been very active in national Church matters making frequent visits to Edinburgh for meetings. He would walk from Waverley station to George Street with ease but his stroke made that difficult. He came to Taiko because he knew that it had both a fun musical side but was also quite physical and felt that the exercise would do him good, as would engaging with other people form his community. He had previously seen Taiko at Proms in the Park in 2005. At that time he had broken his leg and thought then that it could be good exercise. His house is 1.25 miles from Cassiltoun HA where the Taiko took place. At the beginning he very much struggled to make the journey on foot with the aid of a walking stick. After 10 sessions he was able to walk back and forward without the use of a stick. Whilst at the taiko sessions he had originally to sit for periods but found that after a few weeks he could stand throughout the session of 2 hours, with a short break for refreshments. He also reported a noticeable improvement in his balance after the drumming sessions. That balance improvement gave him further confidence and acted as a catalyst to more positive activity. B. really enjoyed the camaraderie of the sessions but he also reported that because of it he was able to return to the voluntary role he had with the Church of Scotland. No doubt that national role had benefit to the country’s wider community but it also gave him personal pride and a reason for being. His wellbeing was improved and it meant he could help improve life for others. Who would have thought so much could come from banging a drum?