By Andrew McKaysmith, Synod Writer and Content Creator
Haven Red Hill assists children and young adults with disabilities; their ‘Van Haven’ initiative is one way they empower these youths.
Thomas Hegarty is the Service Coordinator at Haven, and he said the concept started with an acoustic guitar and some bongos, which inspired him to successfully apply for a grant to purchase more instruments.
“The intention was to surround them with actual instruments, he said. “This would make it feel like a gathering of musicians in a genuine space, transforming the room into a dedicated music area.”
The initiative has been embraced by staff and the local community, such as the Bronco’s NRLW side, who have helped aspiring rock stars hone their craft.
Thomas said the program was about getting people to collaborate and that all styles of music were welcome.
“I think the big difference we’re offering is that inclusive music part, we want to help people become musicians,” he said. “We are offering a mainstream musical experience; it’s far more than a drum circle; it’s hands-on.”
A pending application for a more significant grant means that equipment such as a recording console and podcasting hardware could be soon available as Thomas looks to expand the initiative.
He said podcasting and other media opportunities will give people a more significant means of expression.
“People have stories to tell, some uplifting and others, well, they can be touched by tragedy,” he said. “But the important thing is to help people by providing a comfortable and supportive space so that if they do have a story to share, we can help them.”