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Age Scotland has praised the efforts of a Glasgow-based musician, Claire Hastings, who is hosting a free virtual concert to bring music to those feeling the pressures of lockdown and help raise money for vulnerable older people.

Since the pandemic began, Scotland’s national charity for older people has been ‘overwhelmed and inspired’ by the number of people voicing concerns about the impact of coronavirus on those who are older, and coming up with innovative ways to raise awareness and funds.
The fundraising concert, entitled Claire Hastings Live for Age Scotland, will be streamed live on Claire’s Facebook page on Sunday 14th June at 3pm. It will be tailored towards an older audience but can be enjoyed by all ages. Every penny raised will go towards Age Scotland’s work supporting vulnerable older people during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Originally from Dumfries, folksinger, songwriter, ukulele player and guitarist Claire Hastings made a name for herself on the folk scene after winning BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2015.
Since then she has toured throughout the UK, Europe and New Zealand as a solo artist, with The Claire Hastings Band and Top Floor Taivers, and has shared the stage with the likes of Lulu, Jamie Cullum, Deacon Blue and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Claire has a strong ability to portray a story through song, and is known for her varied repertoire of traditional, contemporary and original songs as demonstrated in albums ‘Between River and Railway’ and ‘Those Who Roam’, launched at Celtic Connections 2019.
She has also been involved with many teaching projects over the years, and has recently set up a Facebook page for interactive workshops called ‘Claire’s Music Club’, aimed at younger children and their carers.
Asked why she chose to support Age Scotland, Claire said:
“A couple of weeks ago I received a leaflet through the door from Age Scotland appealing for donations. Due to COVID-19, all of my upcoming teaching and performance work has either been postponed or cancelled, so I was not in a great position financially to help. Instead, I had the idea of using my skills to raise money.
“Through my work with Live Music Now Scotland I have performed in many care homes and day centres, and have seen first-hand the impact music can have on these groups in particular.
“Music brings folk together, can evoke memories and boost mood. I hope through an online concert I can make someone’s day a little better, and perhaps get them singing along!
“I understand a lot of Age Scotland’s service users won’t have access to Facebook or the internet, but hopefully any money raised from the concert can benefit them in different way.”
In recent weeks, Age Scotland’s free Helpline has seen an unprecedented surge in calls from older people seeking advice and information, including how to get essential food supplies and medical prescriptions.
Loneliness and isolation among older people is also an area of serious concern, with at least one third of the calls received coming from older people who just want someone to talk to.
Age Scotland’s Chief Executive, Brian Sloan, said:
“The generosity, compassion and creativity shown by fundraisers like Claire has been amazing, with more people than ever reaching out to help older people who may be feeling isolated and lonely as a result of the current lockdown and shielding measures.
“For many older people, technology has been invaluable to staying connected – from allowing them to see loved ones to providing new activities and digital pastimes.
“However, around half a million older people in Scotland do not have access to the internet. We all have a part to play in making sure they stay connected. Just £10 raised will pay for two friendship calls to older people and could make all the difference for someone feeling isolated and lonely.
“We at Age Scotland would like to sincerely thank Claire for her support. Music is a wonderful way to bring people together during this difficult time and not only will the concert provide some great entertainment to those stuck at home, but her efforts will also help ensure we can provide information, advice and friendship to each older person who needs it.
“I look forward to tuning in to the concert next week and hope as many people as possible are able to join me!”

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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