Four young mums in Harrogate have received a unique qualification through Musical Mums, a successful initiative delivered by Harrogate International Festivals.

Now in its 13th year, Musical Mums works with parents under 25 and their children from Harrogate, providing weekly music-making sessions in which young mothers can both bond with their child and meet other parents their age.

The sessions give mothers the opportunity to learn together in a fun environment, gain new skills and confidence and make new friends, as well as focusing on the cognitive, personal and social development of their children.

As part of the activity, which runs 48 weeks of the year, young mothers have the opportunity to undertake Leadership Training, which provides them with the skills and experience to develop and deliver their own early years singing sessions.

Four young mums took part in the training this year and have received an official qualification – Arts Award: Discover – in recognition of their achievements.

Arts Award, administered by Trinity College London, is a range of unique qualifications that supports young people to grow as artists and arts leaders, inspiring them to connect with and take part in the wider arts world through taking challenges in an art form.

Project Coordinator Marc Dunleavy from Harrogate International Festivals said: “Many people are already aware of the benefits of music to young children, but through Musical Mums we aim to provide a meaningful experience for young parents too.

“The Leadership Training through Musical Mums has given these mums skills and confidence that can be used not just in leading their own music sessions, but in everyday life. We are immensely proud of their fantastic achievement.”

“The group helped me to gain confidence and build some great friendships.”

Musical Mum, Evie Chandler, said: “Not only do the little ones get a chance to learn, sing and play games, it’s a place for mums to meet others their own age and regain some sanity too. We all get a lot out of the group and learn things we wouldn’t have had the chance to do without going, such as sign language.

“The kids picked it up so quickly and now use it in most songs! If you are a young parent give it a chance and pop along, you and your child will have a blast. Plus, fresh fruit is served so you can grab a couple of your five-a-day too!”

Emma Brunt, one of the young mums who achieved Arts Award: Discover, was presented with her certificate at a special ceremony in November. She said:

“When I joined musical mums nearly six-and-a-half-years ago, it was really daunting joining a group with my six-month-old. We had been to quite a few different playgroups and we always got judged for being a young parent.

“The group helped me to gain confidence and build some great friendships. Even when people have moved away, we keep in touch and meet up when we can.

“Because of the group it helped to create a good network of friends over the years. I now have three – nearly seven, five and three – and we still attend with our three-year-old on a weekly basis and come in the holidays with the two older ones who are not sadly at school.

“My daughter especially misses it. Doing the leadership training allowed me to feel more confident and able to help others who were maybe needing a bit more help, just a friend or who were having a hard time or felt alone.”

Musical Mums sessions take place at 1pm every Tuesday at Wesley Chapel in Harrogate, with a new series of Leadership Training scheduled to take place in the New Year.

Sessions are open to any parents under 25 (dads are welcome to join too) and their children. Sessions are free to attend and there is no need to book.

To find out more about Musical Mums, including how to take part, click here.