Getting on our bikes to beat bullying

The Songwriting Charity’s very first Nightrider London event is round the corner. Our eighteen Nightriders are primed and ready for the open roads of London. Tooled up with puncture kits, inner tubes, padded shorts, electrolyte tabs, new bicycles, rhubarb & custard gels, water bottles, multi-tools, lights, cameras – ACTION – the team is ready and we are proud of each and every one of them. They have worked hard, trained hard and have been supported by generous sponsors and donors. Team SAMSON are doing an exceptional job! We offer our thanks to everyone involved, especially our sponsors and donors for their support and encouragement. Nightrider London promises to be an exhilarating experience and a night to remember for all involved.

Songwriting CharityIf you receive Google Alerts or equivalent notices about bullying or anti-bullying work and news, you’ll appreciate why we do this work, particularly why we dedicate ourselves to the delivery of Bully Beat (and our many other programmes). Bully Beat is more than a project, a programme, a workshop, it’s an intervention. We are intervening through the intensive, reflective and creative process of songwriting, and aided by the very latest music technology. We are intervening not in a reactive way but in proactive and preventative way. During our workshops, children develop their understanding of bullying through activities and exercises that call on them to reflect on choices they make, the ways in which they behave to one another and the impact those choices can have. Confidence is boosted in a measurable way through participation in singing. We see and document significant positive shifts in children’s pride in literacy work. The benefits and impact are tangible.

Every time a donation is made to any of our Nightrider Bully Beat fundraisers this is the kind of impact you help us have on the lives of children we work with. You should be proud of that. Just look at the infographics below for the proof in our songwriting pudding!

If you haven’t done so already and would like to, please donate to our Nightrider appeal. The more money we raise, the more children and schools we can reach out to. Our team of cyclists deserve the support as do our beneficiaries. Thank you.

SWC_Confidence SWC_Literacy   SWC_Singing

Statistics drawn from evaluation data collected during workshops facilitated by Nathan, Ben, John, Sarah, Kat, Esther, Amy.

Illustrations by Ben O’Sullivan, Director of Programmes.

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Ely workers cycle through the night to beat bullying

Bully Beat

The SAMSON Materials Handling Ltd Songwriting Charity Nightrider Team

Workers from SAMSON Materials Handling Ltd in Ely have teamed up with the Songwriting Charity to cycle 100km round London overnight on June 6th to help raise £10,000 to beat bullying in schools.

The funds raised will mean more than 1000 children in primary schools across London, South East and the East of England will benefit directly from participation in the charity’s highly regarded anti-bullying songwriting project, Bully Beat.

Nathan Timothy, Co-Founder and CEO of the Songwriting Charity, said, “We’re very proud to have Terry and his colleagues from SAMSON MH teaming up with us! Bullying is painful, disruptive and damaging to all those affected by it. The idea behind Bully Beat is to get children across the country talking through a network of song, promoting positive anti-bullying intervention, boosting their confidence and self-esteem, some of the very things that bullying behavior destroys. The more we talk about bullying, the stronger the anti-bullying message becomes. When you transform those messages into song, they are amplified and all the more powerful.”

Terry Maley, Services Manager at SAMSON MH said, “I’m happy and grateful to be able to take part in the Nightrider to raise money for the Songwriting Charity. Bullying needs addressing, and I think more so for children who seem to suffer in silence. For the charity to be able to go into schools, and bring these children out of themselves is fantastic, as it shows them that there can be happiness and enjoyment in their lives, and I hope that my small contribution goes some way to help.”

The Songwriting Charity will use the funds raised from the Nightrider challenge to deliver Bully Beat songwriting workshops to schools in and around Ely, and other locations local to where the charity’s Nightrider fundraisers live and work.

About SAMSON Materials Handling Limited:

SAMSON are part of the internationally renowned AUMUND Group, which is based in Germany. For over 40 years, SAMSON Materials Handling have been designing and manufacturing bulk material handling equipment. We are dedicated to providing engineering solutions that are world-class in their concept, execution and delivery. With more than 3,000 installations worldwide, our products are defined by their quality, mobility, flexibility and wide range of application.

About the Nathan Timothy Foundation – Songwriting Charity: The work of the Nathan Timothy Foundation ‘Songwriting Charity’ addresses the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people using songwriting and music technology. Working from bases in Cambridgeshire, Kent and Gloucestershire, the charity’s Bully Beat songwriting project has been designed to enthuse primary aged children about the process of lyric writing, singing, music arranging and contemporary production whilst promoting a serious anti-bullying message.

To date children’s songs written across a range of the Songwriting Charity workshops have been streamed more than 212,000 times on the charity’s SoundCloud, and their music videos viewed more than 145,000 times via the Songwriting Charity’s YouTube Channel.

You can make a commission free donation to the Bully Beat Nightrider appeal here: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/nightrider2015/200571

Songwriting Charity media contact:

John Quinn, Director of Engagement

M: 07950 022009

E: john@songwritingcharity.org

Preparing for Nightrider 2015

SWCharity Nightrider

Between now and June 6th, we’ll be pushing out blogs written by some (if not all) of our registered Nightrider charity cyclists. Most of the people taking part are like me (JQ) novices when it comes to cycling and participating in this kind of challenge. There are also a number of seasoned cyclists on our side who have contributed much already in terms of advice, information, hints and tips on getting the most of this experience. Terry Maley, Dewayne Artrey, Fergus Gracey and Nick Lomax, thank you!

Our first contributor is Sarah Willson, Project Accountant, SAMSON Materials Handling Ltd, Ely. Sarah is one of eight SAMSON MH employees including Songwriting Charity Trustee, Sharon Hall, taking on Nightrider to help us to beat bullying this year and beyond. Sarah has started training hard for the challenge and is doing well and shared the following with us, “Ok, chose nice country roads and managed 13.5k. Could have gone further, just didn’t know how far I had gone but quite pleased with that. Saying that not sure bum could handle more. Not sure if I’m going to be able to sit down tomorrow. Ordering padded leggings this afternoon!”

13.5k is a good distance, keep it up Sarah. Don’t forget the old maxim ‘little and often’. Getting saddle time in these early days is vital. I’ve been advised that padded shorts/leggings are also a must have!

Sarah is fundraising for the Songwriting Charity‘s anti-bullying programme Bully Beat. Bully Beat helps children to understand the effect, impact and consequences of bullying, it also helps to build their confidence and improve their self esteem, the very things that bullying can erode and destroy. Parents often tell us by email or via social media just how much Bully Beat has helped their children gain in confidence, and the boost to self-esteem they’ve experienced being a songwriter and recording artist for one very special day!

With your help, we will reach many more children affected by bullying behaviour. Please support us and support Sarah Willson’s efforts by making a donation here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/sarahwillson1

 

 

My Experience with The Songwriting Charity

Thank you Jacqueline Kench for contributing this month’s guest blog about her experience with the Songwriting Charity.

“I’m a Primary School Music Teacher. There aren’t many of us around. I teach only music, in a large Primary School in Bracknell, Berkshire.

In recent months at school, children had been coming to me at lunchtimes having written their own songs. I am fortunate enough to have time each week with a small group of Gifted and Talented children, and had given them enough knowledge about chords for them to write their own songs. One song in particular stood out, and I met with the 9 year old girl who had composed it in a recording studio over the summer to get the track down. You can listen to it at https://soundcloud.com/jacqui-kench/summer-song . It was a fantastic experience for the girl, and gave me a real glimpse into how much children can achieve.

I’ve recently discovered the delights of Twitter. I say recently, actually this was my fifth attempt at ‘getting Twitter’. Anyhow I got Twitter, and found The Songwriting Charity. I was immediately interested, as I am a songwriter myself, and got in touch.

So it was through Tweets and phone calls that I managed to get The Songwriting Charity into my school. They managed to secure some funding (from a company sponsor called Itper), which meant there was no cost to us as a school.

I decided to use the group of Gifted and Talented children, as it is a 2-form entry school it wouldn’t have worked to just choose one class. This way, some children from Years 4-6 all got to participate. And they were rather excited about the prospect of missing normal lessons for the day!

So one Friday in September, Ben O’Sullivan and Kat Marsh came to Wooden Hill Primary. The theme of the songwriting workshop was bullying. The children worked in groups to brainstorm ideas and thoughts about bullying. Kat showed the children how to turn their ideas into lyrics and melodies. The main chorus was ‘Run away, from the violence, run away to get some silence’.

The groups practiced their part until it was time for Ben to record it. One boy can play the djembe (African drum) really well, and his beat was used as the main rhythm of the song. Ben added more drums and keyboard. I have an excellent beat boxer in Year 6, and we made sure his talents were able to shine in the song. Another child loves to rap, and had written a rap section in a matter of minutes! One child was reluctant to work in a group, so we worked with her at lunchtime to record her section, ensuring everyone took part. Ben said he got goosebumps when recording her part, and that is what it’s all about.

Once all the parts of the song had been recorded, Ben started to mix them together to create the perfect song. While he was doing this, Kat and I took the children outside to film some scenes for the music video. The children of course loved this bit!

We only had to wait a matter of hours for the song to be finished and put online onto Soundcloud. Within a few hours the number of people who had listened to it was reaching a hundred. I emailed all the staff and made sure they listened to it too! You can listen to it at https://soundcloud.com/the-songwriting-charity/wooden-hill-primary-runaway

Monday morning it was played in assembly to the whole school, and the children involved stood at the front and were awarded certificates. Only a few days later, the music video was uploaded to YouTube, and it was amazing to watch. I cried!

The video was shown in assembly, by which time most of the children had listened to it so often they sang along to most of it. It is very catchy, and the children as so proud of what they have achieved. It has raised the whole morale of the school.

Since that day, the YouTube video view count is well over a thousand. The children appeared in the local paper, and spoke on BBC Radio Berkshire. I have plans for the song to reach far and wide, as at the end of the day, its message is what’s important.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the Songwriting Charity, especially Ben and Kat. I know I will keep in touch with the charity and would love to help where I can. They do an amazing job and change children’s lives through music.”

Follow Jacqueline Kench on Twitter: @inspectorMuso

Follow us: @SWCharity

What they say…..

‘This has been the most exciting, stimulating, rich and rewarding day which all young people should be encouraged to enjoy. This day will be remembered for a life-time, reflecting that education should be a dance to great music’.

A teacher’s comment following a Bully Beat PACS workshop in Essex yesterday.

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Listen to some of the songs that have been written by children participating in the Positive Assertive Confidence Skills programme in Essex: https://soundcloud.com/the-songwriting-charity/sets/pacs-essexcc-kidscape

 

 

Coming with the Light of Kindness

Video

What is Something Kind?

Something Kind is our newest programme and has been designed in partnership with Gloucestershire Healthy Living & Learning and is generously match funded by The Summerfield Charitable Trust.

The idea behind this programme is to consider anti-bullying from a different angle. Children often tell us that bullying means people are saying unkind things or aren’t nice to one another. Through positive reinforcement and considering the impact that kindness and acts of kindness can have, we’re helping children (and schools) to look at addressing bullying behaviour in a different way. Our key aim is to highlight the mutual benefits of kindness, looking at and measuring how this consideration can boost a child’s confidence and self-esteem, while also facilitating a more caring and supportive environment.

Already 85% of participants think that they will do ‘kind things more often’ With a further 74% saying they think their workshop experience will make children in their class feel more confident about being kind to each other. A further 65% feel proud of their achievements during their workshop, in particular the words they had written that day. The important thing is for children to recognise the power and impact an act of kindness can have on their peers, school community and on them as initiators and receivers of acts of kindness.

Something Kind is the flip side of our Bully Beat coin. Once awareness is established through school based bullying prevention/anti-bullying work, it’s important to help children explore other creative measures to establish and maintain a happy and enriching learning environment. Something Kind workshops provide unique opportunities to experience and offer kindness through songwriting and self-expression.

We’re adding new videos to the Something Kind playlist on YouTube. Have a look at what we’ve done so far right here.

This is what people are saying about Something Kind

“We were having slight problems with a group of Y5 girls asserting their authority somewhat with other girls both in Y5 and Y4. These girls gained a lot form the workshop and it has made them think: the problems have not recurred this term. During and after the day, the pupils were full of the experience. Afterwards, some of the Y5 girls came and asked when it would be used and what for. They were proud that it would form the basis of this term’s assemblies and follow up focus. One of the other girls came quietly and told me that she had really enjoyed the whole experience and felt that she was more ‘in’ with some of the other girls as a result of it.” Jane Attwood, HEAD, Leighterton Primary School

“The box of kindness is made and up and running and looks great! In the end, we got the children to all do a small drawing or write a message and stuck them all over the box so that they had all contributed to it.  They started telling me about acts of kindness they’d witnessed straight away, so that’s great! What’s also been useful is that when we’ve had any minor friendship issues come up, we’re able to reflect back on the workshop and what was discussed and think about if the individuals involved have shown kindness and then use this to resolve problems.” Gemma Rouse, Class Teacher, Gotherington Primary

“Thank you so much for a super day on Friday.  The Year 5 pupils had a wonderful time.  It was a great experience for them and the song sounds great! Thank you also for your assembly which you led at the end of the day – the children loved it and learnt a lot at the same time.” Sally Green, Head, The John Moore Primary School, Tewkesbury

“The team were extremely professional and importantly able to impart knowledge to every child. The end result was one which was completely owned by the children. There are many hidden elements contained within the workshop which can be used as supporting evidence. I feel that this one project would support an Outstanding Ofsted judgement as it covers many of the aspects contained within the SMSC criteria and the criteria for Outstanding.” Ben Jordan, Head, Gotherington Primary

Stop Don’t Bully Me

Video

‘Stop Don’t Bully Me’ is an original Bully Beat anti-bullying song written by children at Tunstall Primary School, Sittingbourne, one of 30 primary schools in the Swale District of North Kent taking part in this project.

Bully Beat has been designed to enthuse primary aged children about the process of lyric writing, singing, music arranging and contemporary production whilst promoting a serious anti-bullying message. We’re using informal music education and literacy working to communicate a range of key messages. Every song is written by the children. We record, produce and publish the songs at the end of the process.

The Bully Beat in project in Swale is supported by our partners The Angus Lawson Memorial Trust and First Class Business Solutions. Without their support, we would not have been able to deliver such a large scale project. Interest in Bully Beat is extending right across Kent with schools in Medway showing a keenness to get involved.

We are currently working with up to 30 primary schools across the district in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015. More schools than we have funding for are wanting to get involved. If your school wants to join the Bully Beat project, get in touch with john@songwritingcharity.org