Over the past year, it has been very difficult for CASBA to raise money in the usual ways due to the COVID restrictions. However, last Saturday I managed to play my part by doing some much needed fundraising for the organisation in an unexpected and new way for me.
My day job as Heritage Project Coordinator is to record people's stories and then tell these stories to the wider world to help more people to learn about different aspects of Learning Disability heritage in Birmingham. My first project was about Moneyhull Hospital and the transition to living in the community out of which CASBA was born. My current project is telling the story of how special schools have changed over the past fifty years since it became a legal right for everyone to get an education.
Outside of work, I like to write songs that tell interesting stories, too. At the start of the year, a friend approached me about doing a zoom gig with another musician. The gig would be free to "attend", but on a pay as you please basis, with my payments in the form of donations to CASBA. The access code to watch it was available on request from the organiser.
I liked the idea, so set about rehearsing some acoustic versions of my songs. On the day, I sat in my living room in front of the computer. I had an audience of one (my wife) in the same room, but more than twenty people from across the UK and even one from the USA watching through the magic of the internet.
Happily, people enjoyed my songs and felt motivated to donate money to CASBA, so we raised about £100. I would love to do it again and would encourage anyone else to use your talents, or organisational skills to do something similar. It could be a quiz, or a game, but if it's something people would normally pay to go and do on a night out, why not use it as a way to fundraise for a brilliant cause like CASBA!
Thanks to artist Ben Jones, who did the sketch of me playing during the gig (see above) and to Grant Sharkey, the other musician who played. Big thanks also to Shaz Rahman, who organised and compered the gig.