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People are at the heart of everything we do here at Accessible Arts & Media. We've started a series of interviews with some of our amazing project participants and some of the fabulous people who work and volunteer with us.

New interviews will be posted here and our Facebook and Twitter pages, you can also search for them on our social media using #WeAreAAM.

If you'd like to take part in our AAM profiles you can email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a ring on 01904 626965. We'd love to hear from you!

Hannah

How long have you worked at AAM and what do you do?

I have been working for AAM for 5 ½ years after being a placement student with the amazing Hands and Voices choir and writing my dissertation around music and communication. I have numerous hats at AAM, my main hat being the communication development worker. I’m a Signalong tutor so I can provide training in Sign Supported Communication and lead on the signing for Hands and Voices and Creative Interactions, which is focused on Intensive Interaction and play. Communication isn’t just about the one-to-one interactions with the participants, so I make sure all our resources are fully accessible for our participants, and check out any new developments or practicalities which can be used to better our communication with the participants. I’m also a music facilitator for some of the sensory sessions and the safeguarding officer.

 

What do you enjoy most about working with AAM?

Where to start?! I love that every week I have the same routine, the same projects to work on, but they are never the same and it never gets boring. I guess it’s getting the simple eye contact that someone wouldn’t give you before, or that person played the drum because they wanted to, not because someone told them to, or someone has finally cracked that sign that’s been challenging them all term. The simple little changes we see in our participants is what makes AAM a truly beautiful place to work.

What did you do before working here?

I studied at York St John University studying Performance Music and then went on to study the MA in Community Music at The University of York, and half-way through my MA I started working at AAM. I always had ‘side-line’ jobs as carers or play workers for people with disabilities, which is where my passion for community music came from.

Tell us one random fact about yourself!

I’ve never been a ‘sensible’ flute player; I dressed up in a fairy costume whilst playing ‘The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy’ whilst walking down the aisle during my final school performance, I re-arranged ‘Freebird’ by Lynard Skynard for solo flute and wind quartet and played it for a university recital, and managed to get my flute to sound like a steam train in a piece called ‘The Great Train Race’.

We’re only able to deliver the groundbreaking work we do here at Accessible Arts & Media thanks to the support of our funders and through your donations. We have to raise over £250,000 every year to continue the vital work we do within the community. To find out more about how you can support us, or to make a donation please click here.

Chryso

How long have you been a volunteer with AAM?

I volunteered at AAM for 6 months.

How did you hear about AAM and what made you want to be a volunteer?

My supervisor, Chris Bartram from St John University of York, suggested coming along to AAM during my traineeship as he thought the experience would be a very powerful one for me. I gave it a try, I liked it and I ended up spending a lot of time there!

What do you do as a volunteer?

I volunteered with "Hands and Voices" and also with IMPs and took part in a number of their workshops and performances. For the first couple of months I joined the groups as a member to learn how to do all the singing and signing, to socialise with everyone, and to observe the way that other people reacted when taking part in these activities. The following months I became more active in the group, doing the warm ups, helping to organize events and be part of all the workshop and performance processes.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with AAM and what would you say to anyone considering volunteering with us?

I really enjoyed all those smiles everywhere in AAM. People there - leaders and members - are so friendly, kind and passionate about music. The real communication that exists between the people there, and the family atmosphere was something that made a big positive impression on me. I also liked the songs as well; I found the challenge of learning to sign and to remember signing during the singing really challenging and interesting. The most important thing I noticed at AAM is the inclusive environment that exists for everyone. Through AAM I saw one small society where every single person has the same rights for life and that made me feel hopeful because there are people out there supporting such important work. I can absolutely recommend to everyone to consider volunteering with AAM, it is a very human and unique experience.

Tell us one random fact about yourself!

I had the opportunity to live in York for almost eight months!

 

We’re only able to deliver the groundbreaking work we do here at Accessible Arts & Media thanks to the support of our funders and through your donations. We have to raise over £200,000 every year to continue the vital work we do within the community. To find out more about how you can support us, or to make a donation please click here.

Sam

How long have you been part of AAM?

I’ve been coming to Accessible Arts & Media since the New Bridge Day Centre in York closed, so about four or five years now.

What sessions do you attend, what do you do in them and what do you enjoy most about them?

I go to Music Makers, Sensory Movement, Movers & Shakers and Sensory Extra. I like music a lot, I like to sing and dance. In Music Makers I sometimes sing my own song, a Tongo*. I like to change the words to it. I like spending time here and talking to my support worker Lyndsey.

How has being part of AAM helped you?

We asked John’s support worker Lyndsey about how she feels AAM has helped John.

‘Being part of AAM has really increased John’s confidence, communication skills and helped with his socialising. The AAM sessions he attends here at the community centre have really brought out John’s brilliant personality’

Tell us one random fact about yourself!

I was younger! I love Lion (Tom), he’s got ginger hair and I like Aled’s voice. An extra sneaky fact we know about John is he knows ALL the words to every Chaz & Dave song!

*A Tongo is a Polynesian Echo song and is believed to be a canoe song. Tongo means mangrove in the Kiribati and Tonga languages, mangroves grow in saline water on the coast.

 

We’re only able to deliver the groundbreaking work we do here at Accessible Arts & Media thanks to the support of our funders and through your donations. We have to raise over £200,000 every year to continue the vital work we do within the community. To find out more about how you can support us, or to make a donation please click here.

Sam

This month we got to catch up with Sam, one of our brilliant volunteers at AAM. We wanted to find out what he enjoys about working with us and what he gets out of being a volunteer.

How long have you been a volunteer with AAM?

I have been a volunteer at AAM for over a year and a half.

How did you hear about AAM and what made you want to be a volunteer?

I became aware of AAM after enquiring in York about possibilities regarding working with an arts based charity or organisation. I am studying for my Masters in Fine Arts at York St John University and was eager to do some arts based work with people in the community to run parallel with this and gain some experience.

What do you do as a volunteer?

During my first 12 months I worked along side Heather Dawe on the ‘Occasional Painters’ sessions as an artists assistant/technician. Since then I have moved up to the office to try and learn the ropes there and gain a better understanding of how the organisation is run and how it works as a whole.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with AAM and what would you say to anyone considering volunteering with us?

I enjoy many aspects of working at AAM. The people are friendly, supportive and easy to work with. The atmosphere is a family one. It is obvious daily how genuine their care is towards all of the participants and how committed they are to the many sessions and events they provide. Working somewhere that isn’t simply a ‘means to an end’ played a huge part in my motivation to volunteer at AAM initially. After a while the all-inclusive nature of what is provided at the Burton Stone Community Centre proves to be both infectious and inspirational. I would encourage anyone considering volunteering to get involved and throw themselves into it. It is very rewarding to feel that you are actually making a difference to people’s lives.

Tell us one random fact about yourself!

When I was studying for my degree, also in Fine Art, in Norwich I was a the guitarist in a rock band called Sneaking Fog. It started off as a bit of a laugh, playing at the University and at various venues in the area. By our third year we were lucky enough to get some high profile support slots with the likes of eighties rock band The Quireboys and also with The Darkness. I have little money to show for it but they were great times!

We are always looking for volunteers at AAM to help us deliver our life-changing projects. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or would just like to find out more, please visit our website for details.

 

We’re only able to deliver the groundbreaking work we do here at Accessible Arts & Media thanks to the support of our funders and through your donations. We have to raise over £200,000 every year to continue the vital work we do within the community. To find out more about how you can support us, or to make a donation please click here.

Sue

August 2015

This month as part of our We Are AAM interviews we got to speak to one of our lovely trustees, Sue Morris. Sue is our acting Chair of the Board and has a wealth of experience in the local commercial, arts and voluntary sectors. Here's what Sue told us about being part of AAM..

How long have you been a trustee for AAM?

I've been a trustee since 2004, so over 10 years now.

How did you become a trustee?

I had been Vice Chair of the board at the Theatre Royal, and I had just finished an 8 year tenure there. Elizebeth Jones, who was the Chief Exec at the theatre then, knew that Rose was looking to recruit to the board of trustees at AAM and she suggested we should meet up, which we did and I’ve been a part of AAM ever since.

What does being a trustee involve?

As trustees we meet regularly with Rose to go over how everything is going with the charity, we have approximately 6 meetings a year. We're also responsible for making sure the organisation is run professionally and that the finances are all in good order and checked regularly. As trustees we have legal obligations to the Charity Commission, to ensure that everything is financially sound. Our role is really to use our collective experience to help support the charity in a wide variety of its functions. We also support the staff who work for AAM and make sure that we have the right numbers and appropriate skills within the organisation, and that the projects we run are the right ones and that they're successful.

What made you want to be part of AAM?

I guess I was at a bit of a loose end after coming off the board at the Theatre Royal. I didn’t know that much about AAM before speaking to Rose, but after we met I realised how interesting and different it was. I always enjoy being hands on with organisation I work with so I joined the Hands & Voices choir and learnt how to sign, it gave me a brilliant insight into what the organisation does. I found the choir challenging and exciting and I absolutely loved it - and I still do!

Tell us one random fact about yourself!

I knew Jimi Hendrix and he also shares the same birthday as me!

If you would like to take part in our AAM profiles you can email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a ring on 01904 626965. We'd love to hear from you!


Patrick

April 2015
This month as part of our We Are AAM interviews we had the pleasure of talking to Patrick. Pat is one of our long-standing participants so we were interested to hear what he had to say about being a part of AAM, we hope you enjoy finding out too.

How long have you been part of AAM?

I have been a part of AAM since 7th April 1996!

What sessions do you attend, what do you do in them and what do you enjoy most about them?

I joined Hands and Voices on 7th April 1996, which is every Wednesday evening and was held originally at Melbourne Centre. We have performances that include busking at Christmas time in Coppergate and also regular gigs throughout the year. I joined AbleWeb on 9th May 1998 and have attended every Monday every since!

How has being part of AAM helped you?

I have made life long friends and have interviewed some interesting people. I have also been able to enhance my computer skills because I have written blogs and helped with building the new website to make it more accessible.

Tell us one random fact about yourself!

A random fact about me is that every year on my birthday I go to London on the train with my PA Ann, last year we went to see Thriller the show - highly recommend - especially in a box - (not a cardboard one) ha ha. One more random fact is that I can tell you what day your birthday is this year!

If you would like to take part in our AAM profiles you can email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a ring on 01904 626965. We'd love to hear from you!


Alison

January 2015 Accessible Arts & Media wouldn't be what it is today if it wasn't for everyone that supports us. We have so many people we would like to thank, our participants, support workers, volunteers, funders, trustees, artists and staff to name but a few. We wanted to find out what AAM means to everyone involved and we thought we'd share what we found out with you all.

To start us off we asked Alison, one of our new staff members, about herself and her experiences with AAM. We hope you enjoy finding out a little more about everyone over the next few months.

How long have you worked at AAM and what do you do?

I've volunteered with Hands and Voices since I came to York in 2001, when I went to see a community film they had made thinking 'This looks interesting' and it really was! In fact I was so blown away by the joy and enthusiasm of their performance afterwards, that I asked to join there and then. And Wednesday evenings (rehearsal times) were never the same again...soo much guaranteed fun. Fast forward to 2015 and I am thrilled to have been working full time with AAM since September 2014. I'm involved in a variety of projects, supporting with administration and running activities, and also working on development. Every day is different but happily includes plenty of singing, signing and dancing! My job title is Sensory Development Worker. One of the main aims of my role is to take the wonderful iMUSE programme to more people and organisations.

What do you enjoy most about working for AAM?

How long have we got?! There is so much. Probably the best thing is to be part of something that is all about developing a truly inclusive society by helping to create models for involving everyone in the process - whatever that is, from making music or art together to developing the organisation. Which translates into breakthrough, life-changing experiences - and that joy which shone out from that first meeting with Hands and Voices. Hard to get better than that I think.

What did you do before working here?

Recently I worked for the National Autistic Society supporting people in daily life, but most of my career before this has been working with libraries - private, academic and public. Mostly rather unusual roles to do with communities and inclusion. And always in my leisure fitting singing in somewhere!

Tell us one random fact about yourself!

I'm a practicing Buddhist!

 

If you would like to take part in our AAM profiles you can email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a ring on 01904 626965. We'd love to hear from you!