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Local press: Drumming Together in Brecon

Drumming out dementia

Thursday, 6 July 2017
By Brecon and Radnor Reporter in Community News

Martyn Green CEO of Theatr Brycheiniog gets involved in a community drumming session

Theatr Brycheiniog CEO Martyn Green takes part in a pilot Drumming Together session aimed at helping people with dementia.

THE first Welsh Dementia Friendly percussion group is starting at Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon at the end of the summer.

Lynn Kay, who runs the free Drumming Together sessions, is the director of Beat It Percussion, which provides specialised music classes for people living with dementia.

The sessions are an opportunity for people with dementia and their carers to connect with others in an enjoyable way.

Theatr chief executive Martyn Green said: “We are delighted to be working with Lynn to provide these pioneering Drumming Together sessions at Theatr Brycheiniog.

“We believe that everybody deserves access to and can benefit from the arts, and we are therefore proud to have also hosted Brecon Dementia Awareness Week as well as Drumming Together, and regular Dementia Friendly training sessions for staff and volunteers over the last few months.”

After the success of the pilot sessions at Theatr Brycheiniog in May and June, the Drumming Together sessions will return to the Theatr in September after a summer break.

These sessions will be held in the Studio at Theatr Brycheiniog every Monday, 1.30-3pm from September 4 to October 9.

For more information, contact Lynn on 07875 090946, or email

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Beat It shortlisted for Growth Business Award

News Release 3rd July 2017
BEAT IT PERCUSSION CIC: PRIME Cymru Growth Business Award
Hay on Wye based social enterprise Beat It Percussion CIC is delighted to have been shortlisted for PRIME Cymru’s Growth Business Award.
Beat It runs Dementia-friendly sessions for older adults at community settings including Brecon’s Theatr Brycheiniog. Other local projects are in the pipeline. The organisation also works across the border in Herefordshire and is spreading throughout the West Midlands. Over the last year Beat It has grown in turnover and scope and has recently recruited and trained a team of local volunteers and a new music practitioner. Recognising the importance of providing high quality activities for people living with Dementia, Theatr Brycheiniog is supporting the sessions throughout their initial pilot in Wales.
Martyn Green, CEO of Theatr Brycheiniog, said: ‘We are delighted that Beat It Percussion has been recognised by PRIME Cymru through being shortlisted for the Growth Business Award. We are proud to support Beat It’s highly beneficial and innovative Drumming Together sessions, which make a big difference to the participants’ lives, helping people come together, have fun and be creative. We believe that everybody deserves access to and can benefit from the arts, and we want to support the ongoing growth of awareness, understanding and the provision of high quality activities, for people living with Dementia in Powys and beyond.’ PRIME Cymru (the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise in Wales) is the Prince of Wales’s charity that supports people over the age of 50 to start their own business or find employment.
‘’PRIME Cymru supports such a wide range of fantastic businesses set up by people over 50 in Wales and the Awards give us the opportunity to celebrate them and to thank them and our mentors for all the hard work they do,” said David Pugh, Chief Executive, PRIME Cymru. The Awards categories for 2017 are: New business, Growth business, Green Business and Mentor of the Year.
Lynn Kay, Beat It’s CEO said: ‘’Being shortlisted for this award is significant because it recognises not only my work but also the great effort put in by Beat It’s Directors, volunteers and practitioners who have all been instrumental in our success over the last year. Older people often face loneliness and isolation, particularly in rural areas. Our Drumming Together gives people the chance to come together to play drums, chat and enjoy mental and physical exercises which are really good for retaining skills and flexibility. This programme is becoming recognised as a significant development in supporting people who are at the early stages of dementia.’’
Brecon Group members commented: ‘’I have enjoyed experimenting with different sounds. It’s been really interesting to ‘meet’ your instruments and seeing what we can make them do’’
‘’Everybody can have a go, it’s not just you showing us. As a person it helps me focus. I’m here thinking about other people rather than me… All of us have something we need to leave behind us and take a break from.’’
The sessions at Theatr Brycheiniog resume in September. They run in the Studio at Theatr Brycheiniog on Mondays, 1.30 – 3pm, September 4 – 25 and October 2 & 9

To find out more please contact Lynn at Beat It on 07875 090946, email Alternatively, you can contact Theatr Brycheiniog on 01874 611622 or visit the website:
For more information about the PRIME Cymru and the Awards please contact or visit

Dementia friendly Community Drumming group at Theatr Brycheiniog

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Creative Ageing event celebrated well-being

Beat It held a lively and entertaining open workshop last Wednesday at the Courtyard Centre for the Arts in Hereford. Part of the Remember Me event this day celebrated living well with dementia and offered information sessions as well as drawing, exhibitions, singing, dance and of course our community drumming taster session.

The video below shows what some of the participants thought about the afternoon’s music-making. One newcomer to our workshops commented: ‘Percussion is all about human beings going back to their primitive roots and really communicating with each other’. I found this a very moving comment, as it is all too easy to get so involved in the logistics of running the workshops and worrying about providing a great experience for everyone that I lose touch with the deeper reasons why playing drums with people is so powerful. ‘When a group of people play a rhythm for an extended period of time, their brain waves become entrained to the rhythm, and they have a shared brain wave state…It’s really the oldest holy communion’ (Redmond, 1998)

It was good to catch up with friends from the Leominster Meeting Centre where we provide regular community music-making sessions. We wish the Centre well in their efforts to secure continuing funding to provide the valuable service to people living with dementia and their families in the Leominster area.

Lynn from Beat It meeting up with friends from Leominster Meeting Centre

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Drumming Together crosses the border

A new course of Drumming Together sessions begins tomorrow at Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon in Powys, Wales. Our team of newly recruited volunteers will be helping me to deliver the session held in the Drama Studio at the Theatr. This is the first time we have taken the project across the border into Wales so it is a significant step for Beat It Percussion. People living with dementia and those who care for them will be welcomed at the sessions which are aimed at older people in the local community who are looking for something creative and social to get involved with.

Thank you to Awards for All Wales for making this project possible, this 12 week pilot will enable us to assess the popularity of the programme and make plans for future growth in Powys.

Other news: I am steadily building links in the West Midlands and there are several exciting new projects in the pipeline, more will be revealed as plans become firmer.

On a light note, one of my local WIs, Clyro, invited me to do a talk and drum circle activity to the group (see below). It was great fun and after getting over their initial self-consciousness everyone got lost in the rhythms and there was even some spontaneous dancing. I like these little events.

Beat It at Clyro WI, Herefordshire last week

Brecon Drum Leaflet

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Happy Birthday Drumming Together

Drumming Together, our one year project funded by The Big Lottery’s People’s Project is now one year old. Having provided over 60 sessions across Herefordshire and Worcestershire the programme is now well-established and ready to be delivered in new places. We are delighted that the Courtyard in Hereford and Leominster Meeting Centre will be commissioning more sessions beyond the life of the grant.

Watch our video celebrating one year of Drumming Together in Leominster:

Other news: following a very well-attended volunteer information session last week I will be running a Volunteers Training event on Monday at Theatr Brycheiniog. This is a welcome change from my usual work and enables me to practise the skills I used to use as an adult literacy tutor and before that a staff team manager. It is stimulating to be asked questions that are impossible to answer and volunteers can be relied upon to do this! I look forward to working with these new volunteers whose skills, experiences and fresh outlook will bring new energy to our group sessions.

I think I have earned a few days off now, before it all starts up again….

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Beat It’s new adventure into Wales

Last week Beat It visited the brand new dementia-friendly Friendship Circle in Brecon, Powys where we met members, staff, visitors and student volunteers from the local college. Our session was themed around sounds and how different sounds can evoke mood and memory. It was great to be able to share my huge West African Community Drum which can easily be played by four people at a time.

Today sees the beginning of Drumming Together at Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon with our Volunteers Recruitment event, followed by volunteer training next week. Sessions for members will begin on Monday May 8th.

Meanwhile the last of the People’s Project funded sessions in Leominster will take place tomorrow. Look out for our next blog which will feature our new video filmed in Leominster, celebrating a year of Drumming Together.

West African Community Drum

Beat It at Dementia Matters in St Johns Centre, Brecon at the new Friendship Circle

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Busking Together celebration in Leominster

To celebrate one year of Drumming Together in Leominster we took to the streets and played some rhythms. the sun was shining and lots of people stopped to find out what was going on. We were told you could hear the drums right across town – and they sounded good Impressive considering it was improvised on the day! Thanks to all who took part including friends who stopped to give their support, our volunteers who gave out leaflets and to Leominster Town Council for allowing us to use this space

The next session in Leominster on March 28th will be the last one funded by the Big Lottery’s People’s Project. We will be working with the Alzhiemer’s Society to continue providing sessions in the short term, but the future of the Centre is uncertain. A conference will be held at Worcester University on March 21st to discuss Meeting Centres:

I will be attending. Meanwhile I have been spending time in the West Midlands and Wales laying the ground work for introducing Drumming Together in new places and the response is encouraging. Keep reading my blog for news over the coming weeks.

Drumming Together at Corn Square Leominster

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Community drumming: shake, rattle and roll!

After an unpleasant break through illness, Beat It is now back on the road and taking on new projects as well as working on existing ones and looking to the future as the Big Lottery funded People’s Project grant is now in its last phase.

We are pleased to be involved in a new project run by The Courtyard Centre for the Arts in Hereford, ‘Turn the Beat Around’. This project is working with two music practitioners in Herefordshire and aims to:
* allow older people the chance to improve their quality of life by taking part in activities that contribute towards their well-being
* help older people improve their independence by having direct access to arts and social activities.
This project is taking us into three settings, a day service, a care home and a supported living scheme. We have delivered the sessions at AgeUK’s Kington Court where one participant commented: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed my morning again, it’s the way you make it fun. You get to know us and we understand a bit more each week. It would be nice to have more time’.

At a recent Drumming Together session a new member said he nearly didn’t come as the name put him off. He had visions of playing kit drums and being deafened. In the event he was most pleasantly surprised by the gentle warm-ups, brain exercises, fascinating instruments and the lovely warm social atmosphere of the group. Plus the fact that it was not too loud at all. His opinion was seconded by several other members. They said, ‘you should call it Shake Rattle and Roll’ So I’m thinking, perhaps I will change the name. Just had 1000 leaflets printed….

Another thing to think about, do I want to offer a dementia specific provision or a dementia friendly one? The latter would open the programme for more people who would enjoy and benefit from it. Food for thought.




Community drumming. Age UK, Dementia-friendly

Beat It at Kington Court

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Drumming Together ventures into Wales

Beat It has been successful once again with a Big Lottery Fund grant, this time an Awards For All Wales which is enabling us to take Drumming Together to Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon, Powys. We were pleased to be chosen as the featured project in the Big Lottery’s January newsletter, see below:

“A music project for Dementia groups in rural Wales is among those benefiting this month from National Lottery Good Causes money.

Beat it Percussion Community Interest Company in Hay-on-Wye, Powys are one of 62 projects receiving a share of £247,734 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All small grants programme. (For details of all awards, please click here.)

They receive £4,990 to deliver a Drumming Together for Dementia pilot project providing community drumming sessions at Brecon’s Theatr Brycheiniog. The dementia-friendly sessions will be for older adults who are looking for something creative and social to get involved in.

Read more here



Beat It Community Drumming group

Photo by kind courtesy of Judie Waldmann

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Get ready for more community drumming in 2017

Thank yous are due. To our members, volunteers, visitors, support staff and all those people behind the scenes that help members to attend and look after the venues that host us. To the many groups and Homes where our community drumming projects have taken place over the last year. Thanks also to the Big Lottery Fund who have made this work possible, and of course all the people who voted for us last February.

It has been a year of new beginnings, travelling, learning and a lot of hard work. It is odd to reflect that this time last year I was waiting to hear the details about my People’s Project TV film, and starting to worry that I would not find a suitable venue for shooting the film. At the time it all seemed surreal. Looking back I am amazed that from a standing start on 1st April the project was created and up and running by mid May, and sessions have been provided fortnightly at the three venues ever since. Drumming Together is now an established part of the local provision for people living in the community with early-onset dementia, and we want to continue growing the project to reach people further afield. To coin a phrase, watch this space.

Today we held our last session in Leominster and with a smaller group than usual we were able to take time to explore some of my more exotic instruments from far and wide. The Tibetan Singing Bowl (see below) is difficult to play but several members were able to get it to sing.

After the seasonal break we return to our three Drumming Together venues to deliver the remaining sessions and begin the process of gathering our learning from the project – and putting into motion the plans for what comes next.

The diary is already quite full for January with two new projects for local people living with dementia starting up. More will be revealed in due course.

IMG_0475 IMG_1263

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