News

Celebrating Carers' Week: MAC's Hidden Voices Project

Mon 8 June 2020

To celebrate Carers' Week 2020 (8 - 14 June), Midlands Arts Centre will release a series of musical videos for carers as part of our Hidden Voices project - a programme aiming to reach female carers in Birmingham within diverse communities, created in partnership with Midland Mencap and Quench Arts, and supported by Spirit of 2012's Carers' Music Fund. 

Carers' Week Videos

Led by multi-talanted artist and Music Leader, Nicole Justice, the Carers' Week videos will provide fun, interactive music-making activities for carers, who will be able to get involved at home during lockdown whilst our building is temporarily closed.

The videos have been created to connect with carers MAC has previously been working with for our Hidden Voices project to promote positive mental health and wellbeing. Through short, engaging musical sessions which are available to watch online, carers can participate in activities and continue to make music with MAC from the comfort and safety of their homes.

Alongside Midland Mencap, Quench Arts, Spirit of 2012 and other organisations across the region, MAC will celebrate the vital role of carers and release a new video each day to mark Carers' Week 2020. 

Join us to celebrate carers, sing-along and create music as a community! You can share your videos making music from home with us on social media @mac_birmingham or by emailing info@macbirmingham.co.uk. 

Video Library

Each day, we will upload a new video for carers below (also available to watch on our YouTube channel).

About the Project

Hidden Voices aims to create safe, compassionate and inspiring environments for female carers, encouraging mutual support and musical creativity. The project challenges the barriers to help and assistance that carers from diverse communities can often face and strives to bring about change. It also advocates to the wider arts and cultural sector for greater engagement with, and provision for, carers.

MAC’s Hidden Voices programme has already delivered activities and interactive music sessions for a range of existing groups who focus on areas such as mental health, disability and specific cultural communities, while also trying to reach those who may not consider themselves to be carers - including those isolated within their communities, those who are new to the country, and those with their own mental health needs and/or caring for those with mental health needs.

“1 in 4 of us will be carers at some point in our lives. At MAC we feel passionately that in today’s society arts and cultural venues are in the perfect position to create amazing opportunities to support carers’ wellbeing and self-esteem while offering space for communities to come together.”

Holly Radford, Producer of MAC Makes Music

Underpinning the programme will be training opportunities to develop specialist skills so that participants can continue making music in the future. Hidden Voices supports the development of carers' positive self-image and social connectedness through a creative, person-centred and inclusive music and song writing programme.

Benefitting from Spirit of 2012's Carers' Music Fund, Hidden Voices engages with female carers through music activities, with the aim of reducing loneliness, and improving their mental health and wellbeing.

The Carers’ Music Fund awards grants to 10 programmes across England, Scotland and Wales, and was made possible by funding Spirit of 2012 has received from the Tampon Tax Fund, awarded through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The Tampon Tax Fund was set up to allocate the money generated from the VAT on sanitary products to projects that improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. 

Across the UK today 6.5 million people are carers, doing vital work that often goes unrecognised by supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill. Eight in 10 carers say they are socially isolated because of their caring responsibilities, and according to ONS figures carers are 22% more likely to experience mental health problems than the general population.

“Spirit, with DCMS, is delighted to be funding Hidden Voices to deliver music-making sessions with female carers throughout Birmingham, offering them opportunities for fun and creative expression to improve their wellbeing and overcome social isolation. MAC are sharing their learning with 10 other Carers Music Fund projects to grow the body of evidence about the link between taking part in social music-making and improving how people feel about themselves and the people around them.”

Ruth Hollis, CEO of Spirit of 2012

The programme will build upon MAC’s legacy and experience learning from national partners such as Youth Music and the Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England, working to increase musically inclusive practice in music education hubs and improve the quality of music delivery for children and young people.

With thanks to the players of the People's Postcode Lottery who help to support vital programmes benefitting our communities such as MAC Makes Music. Find out more about their good causes here.