“It’s such a great way to connect and bring people together through the live music. I love the variety of music – it raises my spirits. During lockdown it was an invaluable way to keep connected with my elderly dad at a care home and I’ve enjoyed the concerts since then (I live in Ayrshire so can’t easily travel to visit dad). I’ve enjoyed learning and listening to the traditional tunes too – wonderful to have this access to talented musicians, thank you.”SEALL@Home attendee family member
is making a real and positive difference to the emotional and physical wellbeing of the vulnerable members of our communities and those who have become socially isolated from their networks and friends.
The SEALL@Home (or SEALL aig an Taigh in Gaelic) community outreach programme began in 2019 and aims to reduce social isolation among people in Skye, Lochalsh and Raasay. The project is designed to boost people’s wellbeing and help them feel connected through music, stories, movement, creativity and craic.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the UK went into its first lockdown in March 2020, SEALL’s work moved online. Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund, we were able to start a programme of online Zoom concerts for various groups in the community in June 2020. SEALL@Home was born. We brought weekly concerts to Kyleakin Connections (Skye & Lochalsh Association for Disability) and to Skye’s three care homes: Budhmor House, Home Farm Nursing Home and An Acarsaid.
We employed mostly local artists to perform, providing them with opportunities for regular paid employment at a very difficult time for artists.
Our work has continued to grow since then. We received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and Creative Scotland which has allowed us to continue the project into 2021. We continue to work with around 20 musicians who live locally or have family links to Skye. We are now working with more people in the community including the Macular Society, Alzheimer Scotland West Highland and Western Isles, and older people living at home in the Strath area of Skye.
“The concerts make me feel as if friends had come to visit because I see people I know, and this is very important to me as someone living on her own during lockdown.”SEALL at Home attendee
We have also been bringing regular concerts to local primary schools throughout Skye and Lochalsh and Raasay.
“We would like to thank you for all your hard and amazing work. You have made so many people smile. We are so grateful that it is all free and it is an amazing way to end the week.”Abigail, on behalf of staff and pupils at Kyleakin Primary School
We use a number of methods, including cloud-based video conferencing services and the simple telephone, to connect people to performing artists who provide fun and immersive concerts, workshops and sessions in music, theatre, literature and dance.
We will continue to bring events both online and in person to the groups we are working with. We are also working closely with the Third Sector to develop our work and continue to reach people who may be lonely or isolated.
“The residents love the music and stories. They light up and become more engaged either singing or clapping along or asking the staff to dance. It’s a bright spot in their day.”Activities Co-ordinator, Home Farm Nursing Home
“I enjoyed the variety of programme, including something for everyone and to suit all ages and backgrounds. It was helpful to include details of tunes and anecdotes about compositions. I have been reliving my youth, remembering times long gone!!SEALL@Home attendee
Anyone who wishes to find out more about SEALL@Home or who wishes to participate in this on-going project, is asked to contact our wonderful Community Arts Producer, Iseabail Strachan: email@example.com