This week is Alcohol Awareness week. Last week I was meeting with one of our Group leaders who has been ‘dry’ over 15 years and now co-leads an alcohol recovery & support group called Stay Dry Be Free once a week, to support people on their journey to freedom from alcohol addiction. We talked about the additional support we could make available to both visitors and volunteers at this time of year when in every supermarket and newspaper there are adverts for cheap alcohol for the Festive season.
The next day I popped in to take some publicity shots in our Art group which is co-lead by a volunteer who’s been ‘dry’ for over 8 years. He introduced me to a new visitor who is just a week into detox & had come to keep herself busy and had heard about the group from a friend. It was particularly important to her that one of the leaders would have walked the path she had started and would understand the struggles she was going through as she attempted to face life without the alcoholic haze.
Nicci came into our drop in one evening, a bit the worse for wear and desperate to find some hope and a way forward for her life. She went back to one of our community homes which was for single women only. There she found friends and the support and encouragement to help her stop drinking. 3 years later, she returned briefly as a member of staff and last year joined our volunteer team. She helps out on our Info Desk, in Step up and more recently the cafe. Volunteering is a way of giving something back.
If you or someone you know is having problems with alcohol and you are concerned you can pop in to our “Stay Dry be free“ group on Thursdays 12-1pm or pop in to our Info Desk and ask to speak to someone confidentially.
Both Alcoholics Anonymous & Al Anon offer support for those directly affected by alcohol abuse. You can look up your local group on the web or in Yellow pages.
YouTube even has its own symphony orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. We look at some of their work and the way in which artists of different genres use it to promote their work.
These include the dubstep violinist Lindsay Stirling, the singer Sandi Thom, the pianists, Alice Sara Ott, Yuja Wang, Valentina Lisista, the violinist Daniel Hope and the cellist Sol Gabetta. Lisista rose from being a complete unknown and through her uploads on YouTube is now a sell-out in concerts round the world.
Friday 6 December 7.30pm – 10.00pm in the Circle Café, Northampton Jesus Centre (refreshments available)
To keep up to date with future events check out Music From The Heart on Facebook.
Recent glowing acclaim for Music From The Heart in the June 2013 edition of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Journal:
…The next unexpected encounter was at the Jesus Centre in Northampton. Each Jesus Centre has a drop-in, aimed primarily at supporting the disadvantaged and homeless or vulnerable. Jesus Centres offer mentoring to mums and tots, from maths to money-management, from healing groups to haircuts. The day centre supports people who are homeless or marginalised and offers showers, laundry, clothing, cheap food, and fortnightly drop-in sessions for ex-offenders. And it was here that I stumbled upon ‘Music from the Heart’. This is n relaxed gathering of friendly people, of all ages, who get together to celebrate musical themes on DVD. My visit to Northampton coincided with their tribute to Vaughan Williams, and a showing of job conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, What an absolute delight to see this greatest of conductors again. In his latter years one can only say his style epitomised “less is more”, with that long baton tweaked from the wrist, rather like an extension of his arm, his left hand caressing the orchestra, his feet planted firmly on the ground. He rarely looked at the score.
And the players rarely looked at Adrian, as if they were well drilled, confident and trusting. Those musicians with their mutton chops, the top pocket handkerchiefs… it was all as l remember the seventies. If filming techniques have moved on, so what?
Located around a tea bar, tables and chairs and good company made this group a remarkable find, and I will be returning to join them again to see a documentary on Anne~Sophie Mutter, and to see music from the ghettos of Kinshasa and a performance of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony by the symphony orchestra of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Such is the variety of their programme! At one point a client of the centre came around and blessed us one by one before settling down for a kip, but it was all very good natured. They are developing a website for non-regulars.
There are all kinds of grand musical societies, but I doubt if shall ever find a more friendly and down to earth group than this.