Harrogate International Festivals (HIF) has received a £1000 boost from a local councillor’s community budget. 

The funding came from town centre councillor Richard Cooper who visited a music workshop for young mothers run by HIF.

Musical Mums, established in 2007, is a flagship outreach project delivered by Harrogate International Festivals. The free weekly music workshops for mothers and their babies welcomes teenage mothers and young mums up to the age of 25. The sessions encourage the babies’ co-ordination and communication skills and provide a safe, friendly environment, emotional support, life guidance and an understanding circle of friends.

Charlotte Woods, Music and Education Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “Statistically, teenage mothers are three times more likely to suffer from post-natal depression. Education is often stifled, finances are a struggle, and many are isolated from peers. Musical Mums offers a supportive space and social lifeline. Over the years at Musical Mums we’ve witnessed teenage mums inspired to take a university course, or just as crucially, find new best friends.”

North Yorkshire County Council Community Budgets offer funding to support projects and activities that directly promote the social, economic or environmental wellbeing of communities.

Councillor Richard Cooper said: “I love the work that Harrogate International Festivals do for our community and that is why I am pleased to support the organisation. Musical Mums is a shining example of that work.  The initiative improves the wellbeing of those often hard to reach in our community, or at risk of being marginalised. It’s about breaking the cycle of isolation to which teenage parents and young mums are prone. I am proud to support this outreach work that has had great impact over the past ten years.”

Sessions also offer opportunities for signposting to guidance on healthcare, housing, education, training and employment opportunities as well as access to additional social activities such as baby swim sessions. Musical Mums works in partnership with Connexions, SureStart, Bumps2Babes and other partners.

One young mum who attended Musical Mums said: “I felt very isolated before I joined the group, and was going through many personal problems. Being a young parent is hard. …This group has made me feel less isolated because it’s very relaxed. Without this group I probably wouldn’t have as much confidence as I do now.”

Musical Mums is hosted every Tuesday, 1.00-2.00pm at Wesley Chapel, Harrogate, attendance is free and travel expenses can be reimbursed. Contact Charlotte Woods for more info on 01423 562 303.