A musician from Darlington has started a music group with the sole intention to improve the mental wellbeing of the local community.

The low-pressure sessions will be held each Tuesday afternoon at The Forum Music Centre in Darlington and will involve singing, song-writing, and also provides an opportunity for people to brush up on their instrument-skills if applicable.

Funded by Happiness Hubs, Music Mind is being led by Hayley McKay, a leading vocal coach, music tutor and professional singer-songwriter.

Hayley said: “It’s quite incredible how engaging in music-making can really lift people’s spirits. I have worked with people of all ages and abilities, and I have witnessed first-hand how much joy and the positive benefits it brings to all.”

The Northern Echo: The Forum Music Centre in DarlingtonThe Forum Music Centre in Darlington (Image: Google Maps)

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Hayley told The Northern Echo on the day of the launch: “I wasn’t sure how many people to expect today but we’ve had a really good turnout and there’ve been loads of different reasons for why people came. It’s very much a low-pressure social thing and it’s about having fun and just experiencing music in a different way really.”

As she has been a music tutor for several years, Hayley has seen first-hand how much confidence and general wellbeing can be improved through music and hopes this will be the case in her Music Mind sessions.

The weekly, informal sessions are free to attend, and aim to be informal, relaxing, fun and interactive.

At the launch this week (Tuesday, November 15) there was a good turnout and a diverse range of participants. It’s open to all ages and musical abilities in a low-stress environment.

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Music Mind has been funded by the Happiness Hub Fund, to support local community providers launch new projects relating to non-crisis mental health support that are accessible by local communities.

The funding is part of the wider community Crisis Care Transformation Fund, supported by the North East and North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (NENC) and Pioneering  Care Partnership.

The sessions take place every Tuesday from 12-1.30pm at The Forum on Borough Road in Darlington. Contact Hayley McKay via hayleymckaymusic@gmail.com

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