Creative opportunities for all
A group of disabled adults are the latest of more than 200 people to benefit from a scheme set up by West Oxfordshire District Council to get creative workshops into local communities.
Members of the Witney-based self-help charity group, The Tryards, have been learning about song writing, singing, performance and film-making from professionals after getting involved in the Taking Part initiative.
The scheme was introduced by the Council in 2010 to give groups and communities the chance to try new activities and learn new skills at workshops led by skilled artists. It offers a package of workshops covering a wide range of activities, from ceramics to circus skills, animation to sculpture and dance to poetry, suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
So far, more than 200 people have participated in Taking Part sessions and the scheme is continuing in 2011/12. Prices for workshops vary and groups may be eligible to apply to the District Council for help with funding.
Cllr Richard Langridge, Cabinet Member for Local Economy and Communities, said: “The Council is committed to increasing leisure and cultural opportunities for our residents and Taking Part is an inclusive scheme which enables people to try something they may not otherwise have the chance to do.
“We have received some great feedback from those who have already taken part in workshops and are really pleased that the initiative has already helped so many people.”
Communities or groups can choose which workshop or activity they want to try from the Taking Part Menu, available to view online at www.westoxon.gov.uk/takingpart or by calling 01993 861080.
The 21-member Tryards group, whose name stems from the expression ‘try hard’, spent time with song maker and performer Matt Sage, founder of Oxford’s Catweazle Club, writing and recording two songs, entitled ‘Tryards’ and ‘There’s No Tomorrow’. The group now hopes to produce a CD to sell in local shops to raise money.
They also took part in a film-making session and members were ‘interviewed’ for the group’s own short production with help from film-maker Iona Fabian.
Founding member and group secretary, Pat Ruane, said: “It has been a wonderful experience. The members have never done anything like this before and they have enjoyed it very much. We are very grateful to have been given this opportunity.”
Another member, Marie Lewington, said: “It has been really, really great. We’ve all worked together and it’s been a complete collaboration. There were some reservations to begin with from some of the members, but everyone has enjoyed it and it’s really brought people out of their shells.”
The Tryards was set up in 1993 to provide self-help support for adults with disabilities in Witney and the surrounding areas, and is supported by Leonard Cheshire Disability. The group meets every Thursday at Witney Artifical Turf Pitch and gives members the chance to take part in different activities, socialise with others and go on various trips throughout the year.
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