New music workshop to support children affected by cancer

Janine and hummingbird
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Children whose lives have been impacted by cancer have been offered a musical lifeline.

Bicester based OYAP Trust has joined forces with the Hummingbird Centre to offer a free new workshop just for young people, which starts on Monday, March 14.

Music is widely known to lift mood, while song-writing can be used as a powerful tool to help express emotions and worries. 

Combining the two, OYAP has devised a song writing workshop which will be dedicated to supporting young people, aged seven to 17, whose lives have been impacted by cancer, either because they or a family member has cancer. 

The workshop has been funded by Youth Music, as part of an OYAP Trust grant to fund Music Matters Bicester, which was launched in January 2020. 

The Music Matters Bicester programme aims to improve the musical offering for young people in the town and surrounding areas who face barriers to participation, or simply don’t have the chance to participate in music close to home. 

So far, DJ-ing and song-writing sessions have been held as well as one-to-one support to develop individual skills. 

Janine Shuter, office and programme coordinator at OYAP Trust, said: “We know from listening to music that song-writing is a powerful tool for expressing our emotions and worries. It can also be used to express feelings surrounding difficult topics that we may struggle to put into words. 

“This is why the course will be beneficial to young people affected by cancer. Families can be under so much stress and worry that at times young people can hold-back from sharing their emotions because they don’t want to worry others, or young people take on more caring roles in the family that may prevent them looking after themselves. 

“I hope the skills learned during the song-writing workshop will be a life-long tool to support their physical and mental health, and could also be an opportunity for the to make a song-writing into a future career.”

Mechelle Harris, the Hummingbird Centre founder, said: “I think this is a great opportunity to support children who may have been affected by cancer themselves or living with someone with cancer – sometimes we forget that children need supporting too. 

“At present we have not been able to have children back at the Hummingbird Centre due to COVID-19 and the more recent Omicron variant, but being able to provide support this way will be great and exciting.”

Sessions start on Monday, March 14, at 5pm until 6.30pm, and will be held at the Hummingbird Centre, Station Road, Launton, near  Bicester. For more information or to book call 01869 244244

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