Spotlight on: BLOOM
As a music charity, we’re here to help make space for music every day, with everyone. Because we believe that when we do, we make space for amazing experiences that last a lifetime.
While Bristol Beacon has always been associated with incredible live music gigs and concerts, we also have a growing programme of work across our communities that uses music as a tool to improve lives and create a more united and joyful city.
One of our favourite projects to be established in the past year is BLOOM.
Part of our emerging arts and health programme, BLOOM is a music session specifically for new mothers and their babies, run in partnership with Bluebell Care.
As Bluebell say: “Parenting can be hard – especially during the early years. We all need help sometimes, but not everyone has a support network they can turn to on difficult days.”
That’s where BLOOM comes in.
Read on to find out more about the difference this project is making and how you can support us to do more of this work.
Building a community of support with BLOOM
BLOOM is a free weekly music group for mums and babies, using music and sound in a playful way and a safe space.
Attending BLOOM offers a new parent the opportunity to make music, or have a space to just listen and absorb. The relaxed, musical sessions are fun for mums and babies, as well as being a consistent social event each week to look forward to.
Professional musicians join the sessions for music making and creativity. This year, BLOOM mums and babies have been collectively writing and recording a lullaby as a group, as well a developing ideas for their own personal songs to sing with their child.
Sessions are run in partnership with the team at Bluebell Care, a Bristol based charity specialising in mental health and wellbeing support for people navigating the early years of parenthood, with funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
A new parent’s story
I have one child who’s nearly seven months. I’ve been coming to BLOOM for nine weeks, since September 2022.
[Before] it was tough going. [This is my] first baby, it was really tough going. [My baby] was crying all the time. It was very isolating. I wasn’t getting sleep. I was like, “this is it, this is my life, I will never leave the house”.
[My first Bloom session] was actually kind of emotional, I think because I didn’t realise I needed the support. I didn’t realise there would be people on hand to say “Do you want coffee?”
I remember [my first session] being really emotional because I was thinking “this is so nice… I’m so calm… so happy”. You know, for first time in ages. So there was just a mix of happy emotions, which is like relief as well.
I’ve told my family about it and they’re just like, “that sounds amazing”. I know my husband’s told people he works with saying “they have people coming in with actual instruments”, and they’re just like “wow, that’s unheard of”. It’s so unique; it’s amazing.
I think have a lot more confidence. I think a lot of it is down to Bluebell [and BLOOM] because [BLOOM] has been the class I go to regularly.
It’s made me a bit more confident about going out and about with [my baby], going to other classes, knowing that other people are in the same position. I feel like I’m a different woman in comparison to the first time I came, I really am.
I would 100% encourage other mums [to attend].
Singing can be a way to calm yourself down, Bloom has taught me that. I’ll be at home and perhaps I wouldn’t have sung to [the baby] before. But actually now I’m singing because if you’re calm, they’re calm.
It makes me so happy. It makes me feel like I can give [my baby] the gift of music so much earlier.
Original Bloom Lullaby: You and the Stars
Written and recorded in Summer 2022, 12 participants – six BLOOM mums and their babies along with musicians Priscilla Andersohn and Stuart Oliver – contributed and recorded this lullaby. The mums now have this song to keep, share and sing to their child – something special to take home.
I will lay with you and the stars
Till you sing to yours, to ours
Feel the breeze, the smell of the summers heat
I cherish this time
(innocence and laughter newness of life)
I cherish this time with you.
From ‘You and the Stars’ 2022
Help us do more
BLOOM is just one example of many community music programmes run by Bristol Beacon, having a real impact on the health and wellbeing of people in our city.
This is your chance to play a part in that.
Could you help us make space for music in more people’s lives?
Please consider donating today or becoming a regular supporter.