News Story

The Connections scheme provides free tickets for all our Festival events to local people and families who are facing a range of barriers and hardships, and would otherwise not be able to attend.

We work in partnership with local organisations and charities that support wellbeing, including the social prescribing team at Caring for Communities and People (CCP), Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH), Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA), and Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees (CWR).

At Music Festival 2023, 89 tickets were given out for free through the scheme and below is a case study from one of these attendees.

X has struggled with mental health most of her life and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Experiencing extreme shifts in mood makes maintaining a steady job difficult, but she currently manages to volunteer several times a week. She relies on her husband and mother, but her mother was recently diagnosed with dementia which has impacted the balance.    

Her referral came to us from her GP, asking for community support and information sharing of sources of support to be aware of. Social Prescribers work with the individual to identify the goal,s and use their knowledge of the community sector to make connections.    

Our primary goal was to connect her to services that can inform and support her/her mother regarding dementia. We also looked at general wellbeing and mental health resources for her.  She attended a dementia-friendly event and felt able to register to join a Badminton club and start a mindful movement course at Isbourne. As part of connecting to the community, she was offered Music Festival tickets.  

When I first talked to her about it, she was not that keen on attending. She said, “classical music is not my or my mum’s scene,” but after taking up multiple opportunities through us, she later decided to “give it a go.” They selected the BBC Young Musician event at St Gregory’s church.    

The day before the event I sent a reminder text message and she replied that they were still planning to attend and were going to make a day of it. She said, “I do not spend a lot of time with mum and always felt guilty about it so this time we are going to make up for the lost time.”    

As mentioned, neither X nor her mother are conventional fans of classical music, and typically wouldn’t consider this kind of event. It was something completely different for them, and out of their experience. Despite reservations, they both loved it and had a great day. She commented on the music itself, the live performance, the atmosphere, and the beautiful venue. They had a lovely time at the event and got great value in the time they spent time together.    

This scheme gives people a chance to experience something new, in a supported way, and she is very grateful. They have made plans to attend a weekly dementia singing event together.