Margate to host its first free ukele festival

The Feelgood Ukele group

Margate’s first ever Ukulele Festival will be held next week at the Winter Gardens.

The Feelgood Ukele group will perform at the free event after getting together through the Ageless Thanet scheme.

Early in 2018, Ageless Thanet provided funding for Jim Moran to teach a group of people over the age of 50 to play the Ukulele. To qualify for the course,  participants were in some way socially isolated. Some were new to the area, and hadn’t made any friends, some had suffered bereavement and were filling a space in their lives, some had become depressed and needed to seek occasional distraction – these and a multitude of other reasons brought the original group together to learn to play the Ukulele.

Member Steph Jones said: “When we had completed the course, we formed a group that meets and plays on a weekly basis. Friendships have been made, an enjoyment of playing and singing has helped us form a strong and cohesive group. We found a ‘home’ at the Feelgood Factory in Margate. This venue helped us become more structured in our approach to practice sessions, so the group was named after the venue, because feeling good was a by-product of singing and playing together.”

This year the group successfully applied for help from the Ageless Thanet Community Fund to hold the festival.

Steph added: “We know that social isolation has a negative effect on physical and mental health particularly as we get older – we are social beings and as such will all benefit from the new challenges and experiences that this festival will provide.

“The ukulele festival is a first for Margate and we hope we will be successful and be able to organise this again in the future. For this festival we have an amazing ‘Master of Ceremonies’ in Mandi Harkett who is one half of the Opera-lele Ukulele Group.

“The entertainment for the evening comprises five local ukulele groups performing for the audience, a primary school choir and the recently formed Ageless Thanet choir.”

The Mayor and Mayoress of Margate have been invited to open the event and many local businesses have donated raffle prizes. The proceeds from the draw will go to East Kent Independent Dementia Support (EKIDS) Charity.

The Margate Ukele Festival is at the Winter Gardens on September 14 from 6.30pm.

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