Dave recently retired from working for Diagonal Alternatives, which is a care organisation in Newcastle. His role was that of specialist support worker to clients with ABI and those living with dementia. He was CRB checked for that organisation, although this is not required for the work he now does. He is a nationally qualified youth and community worker, and a well established and respected folk singer in the area. He used to run two folk clubs, and sings with a local group called Beeswing. He also calls for two ceilidh bands. Christine’s career has been in developing services for people with complex disabilities, and latterly in working with people who have cognitive impairment. She collects local songs, stories and poems, and enjoys sharing these either performing alone, or with Beeswing. They have put together a programme of local songs, which they have used very successfully for the last two years or more. Some of them are well known, including Billy Boy, Blaydon Races, Cushy Butterfield and Harrin's Heed. Most tell a story and feature historical events or characters. They have found this programme to be enjoyable to a wide audience, whether they are old,young or not even from this area. Songs know no boundaries. This programme has gone down well in the likes of Jane Percy and McNulty Court, as well as a large number of care and residential homes. They tell the story behind the song, what it is about, and where it comes from, and encourage people to join in. Charges are very reasonable. Dave solo for one hour of Tyneside songs and patter £50 Christine solo for one hour of local stories and poetry £50 Dave and Christine together for a mixture of above for one hour £60. They also offer one to ones, with supervision, for those who can’t get to the performance area. This costs the same for as many as possible in an hour.
As an example, 'Harrin's Heed' provides the opportunity to talk about the once staple diet of herring and to interact with the audience. It is also a great ice breaker. All the songs have stories which bring back all sorts of memories and make the audience think.
Never a session goes by where we do not learn something and get the audience involved to some extent.
What a recent Activity Coordinator said about Dave:-
“There was a good response immediately after your show, everyone enjoyed the fact that there was at least some of the songs they could join in with. It was an advantage that you were able to include a request or two from the residents. Those who were able to concentrate a little more were impressed at the inclusion of the origin and histories of the songs. This made the differential from other artists. Our Manager also observed for a while and she was able to witness the audience interaction and participation. The session was able to tick the following boxes (unfortunately this is how we have to work these days) Cultural(Local)/ Social/ Intellectual . On top of this everyone had a happy and relaxing afternoon. Thank you for spending the time with us. We will contact you again later in the year.”
And a bit more
Geordies are well known to be a proud group, especially when it comes to traditions from the area, one man who is prouder than most is Dave Minikin. Dave has a passion for traditional Geordie folk songs and stories, he has been coming to Kirkwood Court in Kenton to share some of these with the residents. Some are familiar and well known and some are more obscure, which the residents love to find out about. Dave performs the songs and stories as well as diving into the background and meaning behind the songs. As he is so popular with the residents Dave has visited Kirkwood Court many times this year, always coming with different songs for the residents to hear. Although there are favourites of the residents which Dave will always sing. The residents love to join in with Dave and have a sing-a-long to the likes of Bobby Shaftoe, Cushy Butterfield and of course, The Blaydon Races. All the residents thoroughly enjoyed the sing-a-long and learning all about the meaning behind the traditional Geordie phrases. Ethel, a ‘Lancashire Lass’, said: “It’s a good job Dave explained the meanings of certain words as she couldn’t make head nor tail of the songs!”
And a bit more.
We recently had Dave perform Tyneside songs for us at Astell care centre. Our residents were familiar with a few of the songs and joined in with them, especially the Blaydon Races.
Dave was very friendly with our residents, and got them involved as much as he could.
It was really lovely to see everyone having a great time. We will look forward to welcoming Dave back into our home again.
Lauren, personal activities leader.
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