Feis air an oir participant ceilidhCarol-Anne Farquhar of Feis air an oir in Sutherland tells us how a 'Together Again' microgrant from Creative Lives helped the group meet again safely after the pandemic restrictions were lifted.

"The support we received from Creative Lives helped us to provide an exciting programme of fèis workshops and classes between February and September 2022. 

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, there were quite a few additional costs for us due to the need to provide anti-bacterial wipes for instruments, sanitising stations, hand wipes, and face masks.

The overall running costs for our events were higher due to needing additional teaching spaces to allow for social distancing and to keep all our participants as safe as we could. 

Despite this, we have had a fantastic few months of classes and sessions and are now really experiencing a revival of interest in traditional music, song, language, dance and culture from the young and less young in our area.

Feis air an oir accordion lessonThere are approximately 50 children of upper primary school age within the catchment area for our fèis and we are delighted to have over 35 of them attending weekly classes, which we hold in Strathy Village Hall.

We hosted a week-long fèis in the summer holidays, which was attended by nearly 100 participants from ages 0-80 and the buzz in our community was commented on by many locals and visitors alike. As well as our regular local participants, we attracted participants from further afield including Inverness, Dingwall, Wick, Golspie and Helmsdale.

The connections and friendships made during this special week are so important to our young people and help them create happy musical memories to take through life with them.

Having the support of Creative Lives enabled us to provide the extra things that we may have struggled to do otherwise. As well as the PPE equipment mentioned earlier, we also used some of the award money for additional tin whistles, drumsticks and some maintenance items for other instruments – pipe reeds, fiddle resin, music stands and manuscript paper.

Thanks very much to everyone at Creative Lives for supporting our small remote community fèis. This award meant a great deal to us."