By Steph McNicol

COLLABORATION between Rural Aid Initiative and Seymour, Yea and Whittlesea Rotary clubs has seen an influx of instruments being collected for children and schools in need through the Gift of Music program.

Rural Aid works with drought-stricken communities to support and help them recover, and in doing so realised some schooling communities in rural areas had been overlooked.

Rural Aid volunteer Peter Holland said all schools needed help with funding.

“Schools in these areas, hit with the drought, the floods and fires have their normal funding which means they can operate but there is nothing for extra things,” he said.

“The communities they operate in are small and many of the families barely have enough money to live on let alone support any fundraising activities and they definitely cannot purchase luxury items.

“Gift of Music helps put instruments in the hands of those that need them most.

“Brass and woodwind, percussion, strings, keyboards, guitars, ukuleles and more, are offered free to eligible schools, so more children in need can access music education and participation, despite current financial and geographical limitations.”

Mr Holland said a musical education was critical for all children’s development and Gift of Music aimed to improve the mental wellbeing of children living in rural areas.

The Rotary Clubs of Seymour, Yea and Whittlesea, in support of Rural Aid’s Gift of Music initiative, are collecting instruments during the month of February.

After the collection drive, the instruments will be moved to Brisbane to be repaired where necessary and distributed to schools in rural areas across Australia.

Instruments that are being collected include all brass and woodwind instruments, all string instruments, guitars, guitar amps, ukuleles, keyboards, drums, all percussion instruments, music stands and sheet music.

Due to the difficulty in transporting pianos and organs, they will not be collected.

Drop off points for instruments are Yea Community House, Cartridge World in Seymour, Hugh Lawrence Real Estate in Nagambie, Flavour Gourmet Foods in Broadford, Kilmore Community Centre, and Wallan Future Hub.

For more information or to organise drop offs, call Peter Holland on 0492 862 039.