Music project brings relief to mental health sufferers

Eddie Armer has been nominated for a Community Wellbeing award for his work delivering the Skiffle Express Community Project. Eddie gives people with mental health issues support, using music to help improve their wellbeing by encouraging them to take up instruments and develop their musical ability.

Performances in the community are designed to de-stigmatise mental health issues and performers are encouraged to speak openly about their problems with each other to aid this process. Members perform as part of a skiffle band, which is a unique genre of folk music incorporating blues, American folk music, country, jazz and bluegrass, playing on simple instruments like tambourines which are easy to learn.

Eddie runs weekly ‘Skiffle Express’ sessions for the community, helping members to grow in confidence when using their instruments and fostering individual talent, enabling them to begin participating in public performances.

The making of new friendships is encouraged, helping people to meet up outside of their weekly meetings with the community project. This in turn reduces loneliness and isolation, and generally improves mental health for participants. New members are always warmly welcomed.

The nominator said, “He’s an excellent manager of the band members and with their individual needs shows tremendous empathy and is a great motivator, always encouraging them”.

Eddie has been running the band as a volunteer for 12 years and now mostly relies on donations from their public performances to fund the band, which recently became a community project, after their original source of funding was lost.

The Kent Mental Wellbeing awards is an annual event designed to showcase the people, organisations and initiatives that help us cope with life. The event’s three themes are: kindness and compassion; wellbeing; mental health.

Whether it is in school, business, community or family, so many of us have been lucky to have people and organisations with ideas, tips and tactics to help us cope. It is time to celebrate those mental health and well-being champions in our community and share this best practice.

The awards will be staged in October by the mental health charity Mind in Bexley and East Kent in collaboration with a range of wellbeing and mental health organisations.

Nominations can be linked to a simple act of kindness that lifted the spirits, a business that has improved staff wellbeing, through to a targeted initiative delivered by a charity or statutory organisation to support a mental health issue.

The event is sponsored by Kent County Council, Kent Community Foundation, ADM Computing, GrainLNG – National Grid, Medway Council, Optyma Security, Ble Global, Wave Community Bank, Cactus Graphics and CommunityAid.

Submit nominations at  For awards news follow @KentMWAwards on Facebook and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.