Eilidh’s Trust helps Lochaber youth pipe band bounce back from pandemic

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A youth pipe band in Lochaber grappling with the continued effects of the pandemic has been awarded funding to support their safe return to teaching by the charity set up in memory of Manchester Arena victim, Eilidh MacLeod.

Mallaig, Ardnamurchan and District Pipe Band (MAaD Pipe Band) is among eight groups across Scotland to have been awarded financial support by the Eilidh MacLeod Memorial Trust.

This is specifically to help local youth music initiatives to safely return to in person tuition, group lessons, public performances and competitive events after lockdown has restricted their ability to meet and learn in groups.

The funding has already allowed the group to restart in-person teaching during the autumn. However, with the recent rise in Covid cases, it will be considering how to safely continue delivering lessons over the coming weeks and how this funding can support that.

The recipients will use the funding for a variety of purposes, from paying tuition costs to covering travel expenses to attend lessons and help make up for an inability to fundraise in traditional ways.

Eilidh’s Trust was established in 2018 in memory of the talented 14-year-old musician from the Isle of Barra who died in the Manchester Arena attack in May 2017.

The trust supports music education for young people reflecting Eilidh’s own love of music and her musical ability and enjoyment as a piper with the local Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band.

The trust will also manage and maintain a permanent memorial to Eilidh and a garden of remembrance and reflection on Barra.

Eilidh’s Trust founder, Suzanne White, said: ‘We are delighted to be making this funding available to MAaD pipe band and helping these young musicians and performers to continue to grow in their musical skills.

‘We know that it will support them in doing something they love and thrive in. At Eilidh’s Trust we understand the challenge groups like MAaD have faced and we want to ensure support is there for when they can safely deliver in person sessions.’

Ms White said the past 21 months have proved to be tough for many youth music groups across Scotland with the pandemic continuing to have an impact.

And she added: ‘Not only has their ability to meet in groups been curtailed but their traditional ways of fundraising were also put on hold, things they are still grappling with today.

‘This made restarting teaching difficult for so many groups across the country. While many continued to teach online, nothing can replace the additional benefits that come with safe in-person tuition where the young musicians and performers are able to develop their social and citizenship skills as well as grow in confidence.’

Lauren Moir, chairperson of MAaD Pipe Band said: ‘Everyone at the pipe band is absolutely delighted to be awarded £1500 funding from Eilidh’s Trust.

‘When Covid struck, our newly formed pipe band had no choice but to put everything on hold.  Little did we know that it would take many months until we were able to start even thinking about resuming band practices.

‘The news about this funding has come at just the right time.  The money we have been awarded will be used to hold workshops and regular tuition, leading to full band performances within the community.’