June...... Nkiru Arts Welcomes Bruce Ncube
Delighted to have been able to reschedule our African Harmony Singing Workshop led by the very talented Zimbabwean Musician Bruce.
June 12th Holy Trinity Church, Old Wolverton.
Check Bruce out here
Workshop Now Fully Booked.
Funding Needed for 2021projects
We are seeking funding for the following projects.
Arts project kits.
Arts kits contained in a box with all materials and instructions to complete an arts project at home to bring relief from the stresses of living and working during a pandemic. (Mental Health and wellbeing)……Funding still needed.
Community Arts Project
New Community Arts Project to purchase all the materials and cover costs. The pandemic has had a huge impact on peoples Mental Health, many people have lost loved ones and been unable to attend funerals; people have been unable to attend weddings and other important family occasions. A group arts activity to help with bereavement, loss, and help improve mental health of participants through a group activity.
Update…. Community Arts Project .”This project has been made possible by a grant from Localgiving and Postcode SocietyTrust, a grant-giving charity funded by players ofPeople’s Postcode Lottery”.
A set of costumes one for summer and one for winter for our community drumming group. Due to Covid risk assessment and safety guidelines, costumes can not be shared. 12 African performance shirts are required, one for each group member to keep and self-launder with matching face coverings. 12 appropriate winter warm costumes required one for each group member to self-launder for autumn, winter and spring community open-air performances.
Update. Performance Costumes. We are delighted to have received funds from Arnold Clark Community Fund to support this project. #ArnoldClarkCommunityFund
Our first public performance since first lockdown of 2020 and what a glorious day it was too. Our drummers took part at Holy Trinity Church service on May 30th to celebrate thier feast day of the Holy Trinity.
May brings more sessions
Our April open air sessions have brought long awaited relief after months of lockdown. May lighter evenings means that we will also resume our sessions on a Wednesday evening at Willen Lake. That means twice weekly sessions to boost the mental and physical wellbeing of our attendees. Places are limited and must be booked in advance. As an Arts for Health our sessions are exempt from the rule of 6 and are capped to 15 per session to stay Covid safe and compliant.
April we were delighted to receive a grant from MK Community Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Flowthrough fund. This grant buys us equipment enabling us to run activities outdoors during Covid times; a gazebo, equipment trolley, stools for workshops, sanitiser for equipment and hands, use of Holy Trinity Church for sessions, training courses in first aid and food safety and some volunteer expenses to cover working from home. This grant means we can now safely run sessions and workshops opn air for local community events and schools.
April.......it might be cold, but we are running African Drumming Open-Air
Long awaited after lockdown Nkiru Arts dust off the drums and return to Willen Lake North for our very popular African Drumming sessions, what a fantastic way to improve your Mental Health. Every Friday afternoon 2pm and the new Absolute Beginner session planned for Wednesday afternoons.
March ... it's all happening
March has been a very busy month again at Nkiru Arts.
We have designed our beautiful new Henna Body Arts Kits. With social distancing and mask wearing to be the norm for foreseeable future, we are not able to run our very popular Henna Body Arts workshops for the second year running, or have our Henna stalls at events. With this in mind we have written a comprehensive instruction booklet with step by step instructions for our kits to get you started on doing your own Henna designs for this summer in your own home, without the risk of catching or spreading Covid. Our kits will have all you need to get started in a Box. We hope to get these kits out soon and develope more Arts kits to do at home with our Mad March Matched Funding.
Drumming sessions continue on Zoom for the month of March in anticipation of restarting open-air drumming sessions at Willen Lake North on Friday 9th April.
February Arts Projects.... subject to funding
January was a busy month behind the scenes, African drumming sessions via Zoom resumed. We are looking at starting a new Zoom session for complete beginners.
Last month we gave a short presentation at Community Action AGM about what we did during 2020. We are now busy in designing and planning Arts projects to send out for people to do at home. We need funding for these projects and are looking at options to get one new project out each month. The project will be in the form of an Arts kit to include all materials and instructions needed to complete the project. Some kits will be sewing projects aimed at people who have a sewing machine and basic skills. Projects will be fun, interesting and useful makes.
Happy New Year January 2021
Due to Milton Keynes being in Lockdown during November and placed in Tier 4 for December, Nkiru Arts were unable to raise valuable funds Gift Wrapping to cover overheads. This is disappointing and we are looking at other sources of revenue. Please do book our amazing African Drumming Group once Covid restriction allow. We are performance ready due to Zoom sessions replacing our face to face rehearsals.
We also postponed the launch of our luxury/executive range of face masks. 2020 was a huge strain to our volunteers and the stress of having to move also took its toll on our trustees. We decided to give our amazing volunteers a break from mask making, after producing over 1200 masks 600 of which the materials were purchased with a Grant from MK Community Foundation and made for community needs, our mask makers were truly masked out and in need of a break.
January sees MK still in Tier 4 and African drumming sessions will continue via Zoom, with a hope that February/March we will be able to resume Friday afternoons at Willen open-air and Wednesday Evenings at Holy Trinity Church.
Later in the year we hope to be able to host Bruce Ncube for an all-day African Harmony singing workshop that was originally planned last April and cancelled due to Lockdown.
Dhol drumming was suspended in 2020 and we hope to resume later in 2021.
December means Gift Wrapping Service
This year due to Covid there is no Charity Gift Wrapping at centre:mk or INTU. Nkiru Arts will be running a Covid safe gift wrapping service from their office. For information and to book message us via our Contact page. Book a wrapping slot, drop off and collection time to suit you, make you donation via our Localgiving page at time of booking. No cash or card payments. Gifts cannot be left over night and must be collected on same day at your pre-arranged time. For small orders you can wait in our free car park.
November sees us in another Lockdown and again our drumming activities are suspended for the Health and Wellbeing of our drummers.
Our New open air sessions at Willen Lake have been very well received and we have so far managed with the temperature not being too cold.
Obviously another Lockdown impacts on our ability to generate income to cover Nkiru Arts overheads and we again turn to our Quality Masks making to help with this.
In addition to Mask making we enter our season for Luxury Gift Wrapping and our Gift wrapping service differs this year as a drop off and collect service during lockdown, once lockdown restrictions lift we can allow you to wait for your items (up to an hour only) Our Gift Wrapping Service is only available Booked in advance only. Our wrapping service gives your gifts that Wow factor that you don’t get anywhere else in Milton Keynes; we also offer Japanese wrapping .
If you are interested in our Gift Wrapping service send us your enquiry via our Contact Page. We can wrap all year round not just Christmas Gifts, but also Wedding Gifts, Birthday Presents, gifts for Christenings, Mother’s Day, any occasion that requires items to be beautifully wrapped.
Rule of 6
Delighted that our activities are exempt from the new rule of 6 . We have invested a lot of time, effort and investment to ensure that our activities are Covid safe and compliant. If you wish to join us please message us through our contact page
Summer Ends and Autumn brings many changes
What a summer!
As Covid–19 lockdown restrictions eased, we were able to resume our African drumming sessions outdoors at Campbell Park. In June and July, this meant drumming in groups of 6 people in each bubble. August brought more easing and we were able to drum together. We had a few cancellations due to wet weather; the sessions that ran were a great welcome to us all to be able to have fun and laughter drumming together again.
We have completed new Risk Assessments, invested in new PPE and have a new Infra-Red contactless thermometer and new procedures and cleaning measures in place. As from September we will be running two African drumming sessions a week. We return to Holy Trinity Church Wednesday evenings and have a new open-air session Friday afternoons at Willen Lake North, please go to our Classes and Workshop page for details. All African drumming places are booked in advance as numbers per session are limited to be Covid compliant.
We moved office! As mentioned before this was such a stressful time for us at Nkiru Arts, desperately trying to find a new home for all our drums and equipment in the middle of a pandemic, almost impossible to get hold of people, as we found so many were not contactable due to being on furlough. Eleventh hour miracles do happen, we would like to thank all at Community Action for their help, without them we would have been turned out onto the street. Not only have we found a new base, but delighted to have a bigger room and in a lovely clean building!
We began at the start of lockdown making Face Masks, Our volunteers have churned out over 1200 masks for our customers and over 600 have been made to be distributed to those in need in the local community, Materials for 600 masks were funded from a small grant from MK Community Foundation.
We have found that since Mask wearing became compulsory on public transport and in shops, every Tom, Dick and Harry has started knocking out cheap and nasty masks. We cannot compete with these poor imitations that are flooding the market. As a small Arts for Health we are not funded and still need to find ways of generating income to pay our overheads and subsidise the activities we do for the community and those in need.
Therefore we are launching a new quality Face Mask; after months of making we know what works and what does not, we have made improvements as we have been making and now have designed the best and most comfortable mask like no other on the market. This is a mask for the office, to wear with your suit, to wear at business meetings, to wear on a special night out to go with that nice suit or dress, to wear at a wedding or formal social event or even funerals or court appearances. This is a mask that will compliment your outfit and not look like an old rag on your face. These masks are made with quality fabrics, double or triple layered depending on fabrics, comfortable fit, that is adjustable and great styling. These masks start at £22.50 and speak quality. We also offer a bespoke service to make a mask to your specification to match a wedding dress, evening gown, and suit, please enquire. We will help match a Mask to your suit/dress when you need to travel to and from a function or event or special night out by taxi, train or car share.
We are currently working on Risk Assessment to offer Covid safe gift wrapping service for December. Again this service will need you to book your wrapping slot for drop off and collection from our new offices. Our gift wrapping is a quality service, we use quality paper and trims to give your gifts that luxury look wrapped with care. We offer traditional wrapping and also Japanese style wrapping. Book early to avoid disappointment.
August the sun is shining and we move offices
Finally after a very stressful couple of months, after being given notice to leave our office space at Festive Road, we have found a new office and home for all our drums and arts equipment.
It has been an almost impossible task looking for premises during a pandemic lockdown with so many people on furlough and therefore no replies to our email enquiries and phone calls, this on top of dealing with lockdown ourselves.
We would like to thank former Mayors Sam Crooks and Euan Henderson who have tried very hard on our behalf to find us somewhere to relocate to and we would also like to thank Community Action for their help and Support. To continue to be Covid-19 compliant, we operate now by appointment only.
Whilst dealing with the enormous impossible task of the above we also managed to organise and begin our open-air drumming sessions in Campbell Park. I’d like to thank Julie Dawes and her team at The Parks Trust for licence to use Campbell Park for summer months. We drum conforming to 2 meters social distancing and also wearing a face mask to protect all. Despite the restrictions drumming has brought much needed relief from the mental stress of life during a pandemic. It has been wonderful to once again to see everyone having fun drumming and laughing together in our relaxed sessions.
Many of our drummers were in receipt of the 12 week shielding letter and we hope to welcome back our remaining shielders when they are ready to in August.
If moving and resuming sessions was not enough for our volunteers, we have almost now completed the 600 Face Masks that MK Community Foundation awarded us a grant to cover equipment and materials for this project. The Masks will be distributed out to local charities to distribute to get to those in need.
Nkiru have not received any funding to cover our running costs or overheads and we continue to self-fund through donations made through our Go Fund Me Page. In addition to the 600 mask our unpaid volunteers have made for the community, our volunteers continue to make quality made to measure masks for the public and ask for a donation to help run our organisation. Please order using form via our Contact Page
July Good News and Sad News
July has finally arrived and our long awaited open-air drumming session for July 1st was cancelled yesterday last minute due to the rain that fell all day leaving the ground too wet to drum. We hope for dry weather next week, when we can all dust off the moth balls and get outdoors to drum as a group again, albeit in small groups of just 6 at a time.
On a sadder note we have been given notice to leave our current office at Festive Road, Kiln Farm and are desperately looking for a new location to base our office and store our instruments. If you can offer us space please contact us via our contact page. We must be out by end of July.
Mental Health Awareness Week
It’s mental health awareness week. Nkiru Arts are busy planning our next African Drumming sessions with the Parks Trust. When lockdown rules allow meeting of more people outdoors we will be drumming at Campbell Park in the open air. We are busy working on our new Risk Assessments to cover Covid -19 risk. In the meantime keep on drumming with us at home.
There is not a lot you can do at the moment to combat loneliness and isolation especially if you have received the 12 week isolation letter from your GP. Here at Nkiru Arts we are giving our volunteers arts projects and mask making materials to keep them busy and active at home in these uncertain times.
Face Mask Update.
As a self-funding Art for Health organisation, we have had to cease all of our activities that pay our overheads. We now have zero income and still need to pay rent at our premises. Our other overheads are very low as no one draws a wage and we are run entirely by unpaid volunteers. We are doing our best to run sessions via, text, email and Facebook groups to help all in isolation.
We therefore ask for your help in these difficult times for a donation to keep us going. Please donate, any amount is gratefully received. Donations can be mad via our Go Fund Me Page . Thank you in advance.
January to March update including COVID-19
January was a late start back due to Annie falling ill again. But behind the scenes we were very active in looking for a new home to drum and run our activities.
February we visited Holy Trinity Church to see if this would be a suitable location for drumming.
March was the beginning of our 4 week trail at Holy trinity Church Old Wolverton. We would like to thank Revd. Gill Barrow-Jones and all connected with Holy Trinity for hosting us.
COVID-19 As the first case was confirmed in Milton Keynes we took the decision to suspend all of our sessions and planned workshops, our African choral harmonies workshop with Bruce Ncube that was planned for April 25th will be scheduled when it is possible to resume activities and issued the following statement on 17th March.
It is with a heavy heart that we are now suspending all Nkiru Arts workshops and drumming sessions until further notice. We are an Arts for Health Organisation and the welfare of our users will always be our first priority.
December News & 2020
All Nkiru Arts Activities were suspended during December while Nkiru Arts volunteers spent a massive 306 hours wrapping gifts at centre:mk to raise valuable funds for 4 local charities.
African Drumming sessions resume on January 22nd 2020 and every Wednesday thereafter see our Classes and Workshops Page for details and January Dates..
BBC Look East Visit Nkiru Arts
Nkiru Arts would like to thank BBC Look East for coming to the group on Wednesday 7th August 2019 and recording us live. Thank you for helpig us get the message of Inclusion over and the many health benefits of African Drumming can bring.
Nkiru Arts becomes a Dementia Friends Organisation
Nkiru Arts are pleased to announce that they have registered to become a Dementia Friends organisation. If you wish to become a Dementia Friend please follow this link https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/DF_WEBC_PartnerVideos?page=videos-for-organisations and enter the code Nki16533
It only takes 5 minutes of your time and can make a huge difference in understanding people living with Dementia.
Bow Brickhill WI African Drumming Workshop 25th July 2019
Despite being the hottest day of the year a wonderful evening was had by all at Bow Brickhill WI African Drumming workshop facilitated by Nkiru Arts.
Africa Diaspora Festival 19th and 20th July Campbell Park Milton Keynes
Nkiru Drummers will be performing at Africa Diaspora event in Campbell Park on Friday evening 19th July. Our performance slot it 7:15pm to 7:35pm. Come and support us at this amazing event to celebrate African culture.
Nkiru Arts working with Age UK Rugy
Nkiru Arts is looking forward to collaborating with other Artists and all at Age UK Warwickshire for ‘Art Encounters’ at The Claremont Centre in Rugby. Using African Arts and culture to engage the over 50s and to
• get older people to aim higher in terms of what they think they can get involved in and archive artistically – broadening their artistic boundaries and skills, and increase their engagement in the arts overall
• showcase older people’s work to heighten their profile in the community and of the Arts in general.
• get older people to aim higher in terms of what they think they can get involved in and archive artistically – broadening their artistic boundaries and skills, and increase their engagement in the arts overall
• showcase older people’s work to heighten their profile in the community and of the arts in general.
Drumming at Christ the Cornerstone Church
Nkiru Drummers recently performed at Christ the Cornerstone Church for two events. Sunday 28th April an service dedicated to Advantage Africa.
Nkiru Drummers were very well received as part of the African Sanctus Concert. It was an amazing choral event conducted by Adrian Boynton. Nkiru Drummers opened the concert singing Ghanaian song Fume Fume and then drummed straight into the Fume Fume rhythm. During the first half Nkiru Drummed Moribayassa and closed the first half of the concert with Bobofoli from Mali, during the interval the group played traditional Ghanaian rhythms Kpanlogo and Gahu. The second half of the concert was begun with Nkiru performing Yankadi and ended the concert with Yankadi and Kuku.
Milton Keynes Festival of the Arts 2019
Congratulations to Nkiru Drummers winning Gold in Open Orchestras Small Ensemble this year.
Christmas Gift Wrapping Service
In December Nkiru Arts offer a professional Gift Wrapping Service to Local Companies in Milton Keynes.
Just contact us to book your chosen date, we come to your office/location and set up for a day or two consecutive days. We bring with us quality paper and bows. We charge per item starting from as little as £3
All you need do is book a date and provide a space in your reception, empty office, canteen or meeting room and notify your staff/employees/tenants in advance of our service, they bring in their gifts and we wrap them.
Check out our facebook page for updates: