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'I was inspired to get involved', by Grayson Parker

I chose to volunteer with Holistic Harmonies as I saw Rachel and Kathy perform at an event my choir was also performing at. I had a great conversation with Rachel afterwards about her future projects and was inspired to get involved. I’m incredibly glad I did!

I have experience with various age ranges (from early years to adults) in both the music and SEND teaching fields. I have been running a choir of adults with Neurodiverse conditions for the past 8 years and have been teaching various ages in a SEND setting alongside that. As a volunteer, I hope to bring my keen eye for people’s needs and a different perspective on how to support a wide range of people to get the most out of this wonderful experience. With my own experience and insight as a disabled person myself, I hope to see and adapt to small details that other people may not notice, as well as bringing my open and welcoming conversation style regardless of age or background.

My personal experience of the 6 week programme has been massively inspirational! This has been my first intergenerational project and I’m privileged to have been a part of this essential service, I’ve loved every second.

Over the weeks it’s been incredible to see everyone’s confidence and comfort levels increase. The levels of involvement have improved every single week: from everyone being unsure and nervous the first week

where people were apprehensive to dance and get stuck in (everyone was sat in their own groups, keeping to themselves) to the last week where people were all dancing together and getting involved with ease. A lot of the comments during the feedback at the end were commenting on how much it felt like a family or close community and I couldn’t agree more!

I loved the sense of inclusion, community and engagement which was massively helped by Rachel, Kathy, Heather and (hopefully) myself. There were plenty of comments on how our bright smiling faces encourages everyone to join in and get involved! It’s also been great to see everyone’s interactions and sense of community develop over the course of the 6 weeks.

I learnt how vital this service is for the wider community! It’s been a pleasure to see not only the affect on the participants, but the improvement that the facilitators and volunteers have been working on during the 6 weeks. We’ve adjusted every single week to improve for the participants.

There are so many happy memories I will take with me: older individuals playing with and caring for the young children, many inspiring conversations and the visible improvement of confidence in both human interaction and movement. One of my own personal highlights has been getting to know people from backgrounds I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet and watching the older peoples movements get bigger and more confident as time went on.

I (and a few others I’ve spoken to) definitely think the course should be extended to 12 weeks, we were just getting to see everyone hit the peak of their confidence with eachother and it would have been great to see that development continue!

I’ve had an incredible experience and I’m looking forward to see how Holistic Harmonies continue to grow and bring joy and movement to more peoples lives!

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