Review of The Year 2021

We never thought we’d be looking back at another tough year after 2020, but we can say that 2021 has brought with it new experiences, exciting events and most importantly, a whole lot of fun. We’re really thankful for everyone who’s been part of the journey and continues to support everything Accessible Arts & Media (AAM) do. 

2021 saw us move some of our online projects into face-to-face sessions, take our ‘Row’ling Gnomes to the water, feature on Children In Need and work with other social enterprises amongst other things! Phew! 

iMUSE overview 

With the help of funding from the Co-op Local Community Fund, we expanded our iMUSE at Home programme, where smaller versions of the iMUSE kit are sent to people’s homes. This means they can access the wellbeing benefits of iMUSE even when they’re unable to leave the house. 

51696773050 5f91eb68d6 o

In April, we were able to restart our face-to-face sessions at the Wellbeing centre. Later, in June, we also restarted our Skipton Extended Learning for All (SELFA) partnership and offered sessions to young people with complex needs. 

Over the last 2 years we have have been working with NYMAZ as part of their programme at Applefields school. This year will see a start to our 3 year in partnership. Throughout our time there, Hannah has led the sessions and offered guidance to school staff so they will be able to continue offering iMUSE to students once our sessions have ended. 

IMPs go face-to-face 

After two terms of meeting on Zoom, we started face-to-face sessions for our Senior IMPs group again in September. It’s so good to see everyone again! Our IMPs have been busy this year, learning new musical skills and writing some brilliant music. You can check out their feel-good summer anthem ‘Good, Good, Good’ here and watch their TV debut on BBC Look North as part of Children in Need here!

We were also delighted to re-start our after-school Junior IMPs sessions at Westfield Primary School in the Autumn term. 

Holiday fun!

Throughout the school holidays, our IMPs were kept busy and creative with our Holiday Clubs which included Music and Movement sessions, a musical theatre workshop and a write your own movie score workshop. We did a Song Writing Safari where we took the IMPs on a trip to Askham Byran Wildlife & Conservation Park for some inspiration. We also partnered with Mind The Gap, and created fantastic graphic score workshops as part of their Doodlebook Project. Check out the wonderful film they made about the project here.

We couldn’t possibly show you all the wonderful creations that came out of the holiday clubs so here’s a select few videos showing what we got up to!

IMPs Storytelling Safari - an animated musical animal adventure!

African Sound Safari Fun!


Movers and Shakers

After a long break, it was great to re-start our Movers and Shakers sessions in September! It’s a fun-packed music and movement session for learning-disabled adults, with lots of great music and a lot of laughter. Sessions this term have focused on group members’ favourite music, from Elvis and Bill Haley to songs from Frozen and even some classics from Queen.

51696158908 fbcd429229 k

York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge

In July, our ‘Row’ling Gnomes put their months of lockdown training to the test and put oars to water in the York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge. We had such a fun day cheering all the teams on as they raced. The Gnomes’ efforts were well worth it in the end as we were able to raise over £4,000 for the event – what a fantastic amount! 

51483420910 83145d55ac h 

The AAM team were so happy to be involved in such a fabulous event! You can imagine our excitement when we learnt that we had be selected as one of two main charities to take part in next years challenge! We were jumping for joy! Antibiotics Research UK are the Rotary Club’s other chosen Charity for next years race – A wonderful Charity who you can learn more about here.

We will be working off the mince pies and training once again to get ourselves ready for next years race. Will it be the Gnomes who will be hitting the water in 2022? Stay tuned to find out! 

Igen choir project  

Early on in the year, we worked with The Igen Trust, who fund our iMUSE programme. They created an online choir made up of participants from their funded organisations. Our Hands and Voices and IMPs trainees stepped up to the plate. They led some fantastic singing and signing workshops over Zoom, demonstrating what great leaders they are online as well as in person! The workshops resulted in a wonderful video of Here Comes the Sun which you can see below.


Bounceback Collaboration 

Lockdown also saw us collaborate with food poverty Charity Bounceback Food CIC as part of their Secret Dishes from Around the World cookery book project. We enlisted talented York-based artist Adam Higton to lead workshops with participants from across our projects.

You can read more about what we got up to here

Bounceback Book 6

New resources section on the website

We launched the new resources section on our website in March. We’ve uploaded some of our most popular singing and signing songs, warm-ups, sensory stories and creative sensory activities. All of the resources are free to download and include teaching videos, PDF guides and, for the musical resources, backing tracks too.

Busking again! 

On the 11th December we took Coppergate by storm and busked with our Hands and Voices and IMPs Choirs. This was the first time the gang have got together to perform since February 2020 and the first time Hands and Voices have sung together in-person for some time. So you can imagine how excited everyone was! We had 2 performances over a two hour period and the crowd loved every second. They performed lots of festive songs including Here Comes Santa Claus and Dominick the Donkey – were you there? What was your favourite?

If you couldn’t make it on the day you can still support our fabulous buskers by either texting AAMEDIA 5 (or preferred amount) to 70085 or heading here to donate. Our talented bunch managed to raise £850, which is fantastic! We would love to reach £1000, can you help?



Fundraising thank you's

Huge thanks, as always, to our funders and supporters. We have had a challenging year of it so to know we have your support has helped spur us on. Funding has helped us respond and adapt to new circumstances such as iMUSE at home, so thank you.

Special thanks to Adi Gunn, who ran York 10k in aid of AAM and to Libbie Waddleton – our daredevil fundraiser who did a wing walk in aid of AAM in September!

We're really looking forward to seeing you all the new year and seeing what 2022 brings! It's a big year for AAM (bigger than 2021, if you can imagine!) so keep your eyes peeled!