As a Suffolk-born musician, researcher and composer I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to contribute to the Jetty Lane project. Throughout my life the arts have been hugely significant, not only in my education and leisure time, but also in leading me to rewarding careers in teaching and engaging others in the arts.
Over the years I have been privileged to work with a wide range of organisations both locally and further afield, including Snape Maltings, DanceEast, The Pimlott Foundation, StartEast, The Pacitti Company, English National Ballet, LifewithArt, and the Amber Trust. I currently lead two community singing groups, the Unscene Singers (for adults with visual impairment) and Sing to Beat Parkinson’s (East Suffolk). I have also been lucky enough to collaborate with many inspirational artists and practitioners from our region on performances, exhibitions and workshops.
Much of this work is underpinned by a strong belief in the transformative power of the arts for all areas of the community. We are hearing more and more in the media about how creative pastimes can benefit our health & wellbeing, and scientific research is gradually emerging to back this up. Studies are being published that prove that participating in dancing, singing, music and arts activities has tangible benefits for people with Parkinson’s, dementia, cancer, post-natal depression, chronic pain, the list goes on.
In 2017, an all-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing published a comprehensive report on Creative Health. Its key finding is that the arts can help keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer lives, better lived. With this kind of national recognition and acknowledgement it’s an exciting time for health, wellbeing and the arts.
And it’s an exciting time for Woodbridge. Jetty Lane will be a fabulous resource for the community, enabling all age groups to participate in a variety of activities that will help them feel healthy, connected to others, and able to express their creativity. It will be a place where friends and memories will be made, and talent nurtured. The support the project has gathered so far is testament to the dedication of the Jetty Lane team and the investment of Woodbridge community, and I’m looking forward to being able to work with everyone during the next stages of the project.