Piper Eilidh’s Trust Helps Youth Music Groups Bounce Back from Pandemic

Youth music groups across Scotland grappling with the continued effects of the pandemic have been awarded funding to support their safe return to teaching by the charity set up in memory of Manchester Arena victim, piper Eilidh MacLeod.

The bodies benefiting include the Lewis and Harris Piping Society, Mallaig and Ardnamurchan Pipe Band and Castlebay School Pipe Band. The money is for local youth music initiatives to safely return to in- person tuition, group lessons, public performances and competitive events after the pandemic has restricted their ability to meet and learn in groups.

By Iagan MacNeill

The funding has already allowed the groups to restart in-person teaching during the autumn. However, with the recent rise in covid cases, the groups will be considering how to safely continue delivering lessons over the coming weeks and how this funding can support that. 

The groups will use the funding for a variety of purposes, from paying tuition costs to covering travel expenses to attend lessons and help make up for an inability to fundraise in traditional ways. 

Eilidh’s Trust was established in 2018 in memory of the talented 14-year-old musician from the Isle of Barra who died in the Manchester Arena attack in May 2017. The trust supports music education for young people reflecting Eilidh’s own love of music and her musical ability and enjoyment as a piper with the local Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band. The trust will also manage and maintain a permanent memorial to Eilidh and a garden of remembrance and reflection on Barra.  

Youth groups supported are:

Bare Productions CIC EdinburghSupport for 40 young people to participate in a stage musical production£1000
Sgoil Bhagh a Chaisteal, BarraNa h-Eileanan an IarTo cover travel expenses for pipe band lessons£1500
Lewis and Harris Piping SocietyNa h-Eileanan an IarTo fund additional piping workshops£1000
MAaD Pipe Band (Mallaig, Ardnamurchan and District Pipe Band)LochaberTo support the restart of lessons and workshops£1500
The No Marcs music group (Crianlarich, Killin, Lochearnhead, Balquhidder & Tyndrum)StirlingshireTo restart lessons and aim to deliver live performances once again.£500
The Orkney Traditional Music ProjectOrkneyTo help keep tuition costs affordable£1000
Papay Community AssociationOrkneyTo cover travel costs for tutors£500
Reeltime MusicNorth LanarkshireSupport to continue running their weekly workshops for disadvantaged in the 13+ age group£1500

Suzanne Forman, headteacher of Sgoil Bhagh a Chaisteal [Castlebay School] on the Isle of Barra: “We are very grateful to Eilidh’s Trust for this donation which will enable us to travel to Uist again to practise with the Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band.  Weekend sessions such as these contribute so much towards keeping our music and culture alive in the Southern Isles, as well as forging inter-island links.”  

Donald Ban MacDonald and his students at Castlebay School on Barra, grateful recipients of funding from Eilidh’s Trust

Dr John Smith, Chairman of the Lewis and Harris Piping Society said: “We were delighted to receive this financial support from Eilidh’s Trust which helped make up for some of the fundraising we were unable to undertake due to the pandemic.”

Lauren Moir, Chairperson of Mallaig, Ardnamurchan and District (MAaD) Pipe Band said: “Everyone at the pipe band is absolutely delighted to be awarded £1500 funding from Eilidh’s Trust.  

“When covid struck, our newly formed pipe band had no choice but to put everything on hold.  Little did we know that it would take 16 months until we were able to start even thinking about resuming band practices.  The news about this funding has come at just the right time.  The money we have been awarded will be used to hold workshops and regular tuition, leading to full band performances within the community.”  

Eilidh’s memorial

Kylie Harcus, Chairperson of Orkney Traditional Music Project, said: “We are very grateful to have been awarded financial assistance from the Eilidh MacLeod memorial fund to relaunch face to face affordable fiddle and accordion tuition for all ages helping to keep alive Orkney’s musical heritage.”

Eilidh’s Trust founder, Suzanne White said: “We are delighted to be making this funding available and helping the young musicians and performers to continue to grow in their musical skills. We want to ensure support is there for when they can safely deliver in-person sessions. 

“The past 21 months have proved to be tough for many youth music groups across Scotland with the pandemic continuing to have an impact. Not only has their ability to meet in groups been curtailed but their traditional ways of fundraising were also put on hold, things they are still grappling with today. This made restarting teaching difficult for so many groups across the country. While many continued to teach online, nothing can replace the additional benefits that come with in-person tuition.”

For more information, please visit us on www.eilidhstrust.org.uk or search for @EilidhsTrust on social media.

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