ELM Café – Music and Poetry for Positive Mental Health

Community Room. Women’s Community Matters, Nan Tait, Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness – 8 October 2022: 2pm – 6pm – Free all ages event.

Suicide Prevention Charity Every Life Matters are holding their first ELM Café on 8 October 2022 at Women’s Community Matters in Barrow. Working in partnership with Mind in Furness, Bags of Love and Women’s Community Matters they bring you an afternoon of music and poetry to promote positive mental health.

‘frequent arts participation and cultural attendance were associated with lower levels of mental distress and higher levels of life satisfaction, with arts participation additionally associated with better mental health functioning’ BMC Public Health 2022

Shaun Blezard Suicide Safer Communities Coordinator for Barrow said ‘Before starting work with Every Life Matters I was a community based musician and artist for 20 years, and I have seen over and over again the mental health benefits from engaging with arts and culture. It was something that I wanted to bring to my new role as part of creating a Suicide Safer community and to help improve our community’s mental health”.

He continued, “Barrow has twice the national average of deaths by suicide and we as a community need to work towards reducing that figure in every way we can. Every Life Matters are dedicated to having more open and honest conversations about suicide and these kind of settings can help this happen.”

There is music from: Matt Kassell, Olivia Dacre, Bethan McAllister and Jonny Swift plus poetry from Kate Davis. Audience member can also find out about the work of local organisations Every Life Matters, Mind in Furness, Women’s Community Matters and Bags of Love, with staff on hand to answer questions and talk about mental health.

The event will be a relaxed affair with plenty of time to chat with chilled background music supplied by Steve Robson from local radio show Space Is The Place.
Olivia Dacre said ‘Music is a powerful thing. Music is a way of distancing ourselves from our everyday worries and can help massively with our mental health. Music helps boost our self-esteem and confidence, as well as helping us relax in times of stress. I’m really excited to be a part of this event, helping raise awareness, and spread the word that music really is a beautiful thing and can be used in such diverse ways.’

Steve Robson who is half of Space Is The Place radio show and work at Women’s Community Matters said ‘music and culture are such brilliant ways to improve you mental health and this event is something I am really excited to be involved in.

Many thanks to Shaun and Every Life Matters for getting me involved. I would love to see more of this kind of event in Barrow. The Café is free and is an all ages no alcohol show – there will be brews, biscuits and soft drinks available.

Jonny Swift

Jonny Swift is a Cumbrian-based musician & songwriter who is regularly on the live music scene in the South Lakes and the wider North-West area. Since 2020 Jonny has released two albums – ‘Dalton Daze’ in 2020, ‘Story of Luna’ in 2021 (SEAHOUSE RECORDS) and is currently recording his third in as many years.

Beginning in the Covid pandemic, Jonny has also been raising funds for Barrow Foodbank via a voluntary community/music-based project called “Bags of Love” which has currently raised £6,000 through Bandcamp albums and live events.

Matt Kassell

Matt Kassell is a singer-songwriter who usually releases music under the Emker Cel moniker. He runs the Digital Man recording studio in Barrow and founded Seahouse Records which currently has a dozen artists on its roster. Matt’s influences are varied but his current loves include Jeff Buckley, Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell and The Coral, amongst others. He likes decaf coffee and Pingu.

Kate Davis

I was born on the Furness Peninsula in Cumbria and still lives at the end of it, on Walney Island. My poems have been published in a small number of magazines, printed on shopping bags, implanted in benches and remixed by a sound artist. In 2018 my collection, ‘The Girl Who Forgets How to Walk’ was published by Penned in the Margins. I developed a performance of poems taken from the book and a BBC R4 programme, ‘Earthbound,’ featured work from the collection.
My second book, a verse novel called ‘Flow’ will be published in Spring 2024 In 2014 I received a Northern Writers Award.

Olivia Dacre

Olivia is an acoustic singer-songwriter who is frequently seen in the local area performing and producing her own music at just 15 years of age. Olivia began creating music two years ago, after learning to play the guitar during lockdown. She has since released three singles recorded and produced at home, regularly aired on CandoFM and BBC Introducing. Olivia has had a passion for singing since she was young, writing songs inspired by feelings that many can relate to, as well as singing multiple well known covers covering many genre’s including folk, rock, pop and alternative/indie.

Bethan McAllister

I’m Bethan McAllister, I’m an 18-year-old local artist from Barrow-in-Furness. I like to create original work and sing covers.

For interviews, comment and more information about the event contact Shaun Blezard (Suicide Safer Communities Coordinator Barrow) | 07456 673549 | Shaun.Blezard@every-life-matters.org.uk 
Useful Information
Every Life Matters: https://www.every-life-matters.org.uk/
Mind in Furness: http://www.mindinfurness.org/
Women’s Community Matters: https://www.womenscommunitymatters.org/
BMC Public Health study: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-8109-y


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