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CASP 2020: Interview with Harmonie Group Facilitation (Cowra)

The Country Arts and Support Program (CASP) is an annual small grants program administered by Regional Arts NSW on behalf of Create NSW, to support community arts and cultural development in regional NSW.

As we approach the opening date for CASP 2020 applications, we talk to previous CASP recipients to see how these small grants benefited their projects and communities at large.

Applications for CASP 2020 open at 12pm on Friday 24 May. Prospective applicants must get in touch with their RADO before applying.

Harmonie Group Facilitation

Please provide a brief bio for yourself and/or your organisation.
I (Simone Gough) have a Diploma in Early Childhood and am a musician who can play several instruments including hand drums and ukulele. I am certified as a Hand Drum Facilitator and have a certificate in Group Leadership. I have always been active in local community. 12 months previously I was working but wanted to start up a business facilitating music groups or performing at events, 12 months on my business has steadily grown and I now have regular one on one sessions and groups with students of all ages, doing music, art and relaxation. I travel throughout the central west and blue mountains areas,

Tell us more about the project you received CASP funding for.
I received $3000 CASP Funding, with the support of my auspice, Cowra PCYC to start the project early February. The funding has given me a small income to support the growth of Ukulele and Hand Drumming groups within the Cowra and surrounding area, along with funds for advertising and running promotional workshops.

Six regular weekly groups are held at Woodstock CWA, Cowra PCYC and Cowra Carpenters Studio on a weekly basis, enabling people of all ages to engage in rhythm and melody. My groups are aimed at beginners and encourage everyone to have a go and have fun.

I have used the funds to print out quality flyers to put around town along with many hours spent posting digital flyers on social media community groups. Promotional workshops include the Senior Citizens Day in February, Festival of International Understanding workshops in March and a Meals on Wheels lunch performance in March. The project runs until Sept 2019 and there are more promotional workshop planned for Cowra High School and Holman Place school. The aim of this project is to continue to reach out to community and encourage regular participation in meaningful, economic and therefore sustainable community activities.

How did receiving CASP funding benefit you/your project? Were there any longer term benefits?
The CASP funding has benefited my project by helping to keep it going and giving me the confidence to go full time in the business to give it a kick start, sustaining my growing business as I pour energy into promotion and advertising. Having the support of Regional Art NSW and the PCYC gives me credibility amongst community services and organisations, and improves my reputation, making me more attractive to customers, and more productive and successful.

Any advice for future applicants?
Go for it! This is a wonderful opportunity that I am deeply grateful for. I truly believe that this support has helped me to grow and be successful.