The Incredible Plastic Street Band

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GM Walking has given grants to local voluntary and community groups with the aim of getting Greater Manchester walking. We offered the grants to support a huge range of activities that encourage people who are usually less active to start or to increase the amount they walk regularly.

One of the groups benefitting from this was the Incredible Plastic Street Band, which is based in Tameside. Here we look at what they did and how they got on.

Who is the Incredible Plastic Street Band?

The Incredible Plastic Street Band is a vibrant and exciting street band project for children aged 3-12, who play lightweight, colourful plastic instruments. They include plastic recycling crafts, eco-bricking and walking/nature activities in their sessions and try to bring their music to the public in outdoor settings.

The project works with families who want their children to access music, creativity and a friendly, chatty space, and includes spaces for parents to try out music and helping out with the group.

Who took part in the project?

The project worked with 30 families; many of whom were vulnerable, lived in poverty or were recent refugees. They also supported some families with autistic children and special educational needs.

What did they aim to do?

While the original plan was to meet twice a week indoors to provide in-person musical and physical activities, a rethink was obviously needed once COVID-19 hit. The plan changed to online Zoom music practice and 24 weeks of outdoor walking activities guided by a weekly video distributed to participants. All families took part for free and personal instruments and iPads were provided so that nobody was not digitally excluded.

How did it go?

The project worked very well with great engagement. The activities the project was able to facilitate included kite flying, barefoot walking, goats-on-Zoom, bug hunts, tree hugs, plant and flower identification, orienteering, picnics and many more.

Whilst 28 children took part in the project to some extent, 14 were very keen and regularly got involved in the activities; their parents providing photo and video updates of their participation.

Many children also attended a weekly Zoom session with the project in which they chatted about how they were coping with lockdown. This was particularly important as many didn’t really have any schoolwork at that point so it was an ideal way of touching base and keeping the children motivated.

Feedback from participants

Feedback from the families involved in the project was excellent. One commented:

“The IPSB has been excellent in keeping the children busy and entertained during the most stressful times of their lives…During lockdown we had plenty of exercise in nature, discovering insects, bark rubbing, orienteering, tree photography and our favourite, the egg box challenge! You’re doing a wonderful job. Our children are all proud of IPSB”

For more information

To find out more about the Incredible Plastic Street Band, the activities on offer and how you can get involved, please see their Facebook, Twitter or website.

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