Holistic Harmonies: Bringing the Liverpool City Region together
Founded by creative wellbeing practitioner, Rachel Waite, Holistic Harmonies is a Community Interest Company which delivers music and movement sessions, choirs, family social events and target projects linked to developing intergenerational practice within social care settings.
From a very young age Rachel got a thrill from singing and movement. It quickly became her passion to delve further into the arts and helping young children to develop. Her passion for the arts only became stronger as she decided to move from Liverpool to London at the age of 18 to pursue her career…
After graduating with a degree in the arts, Rachel had a portfolio career, varying from on screen roles in films like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, stage appearances, a nanny, a singing teacher, and trained as a Singing Mamas Choir Leader. After gaining a CACHE Level 3 Diploma, Rachel worked as a family support worker on the neo-natal unit at Homerton Hospital in East London among other NHS roles.
Through working in the NHS with people from all backgrounds, Rachel had witnessed and supported people through some of the most extreme situations life could muster. This, alongside her performance history as a dancer, singer and actor, helped her to create a unique business skill set, through which Holistic Harmonies was born.
With this idea in mind, Rachel decided to move back home to Liverpool and set up her business. She wanted to create a business that was personal, creative, and helpful, aiming to build human-to-human connections using dance and music.
Why Liverpool, why not London?…
‘Here in Liverpool, it’s a small enough city that the circles often overlap. Liverpool encourages collaboration, a supportive environment, and a DIY mentality. I think as a city, historically, we’ve had to pick ourselves up many times and make things happen – because it has seemed like we’ve been left behind in the past. The people who have come to my singing groups have become my cheerleaders, and the best marketing I’ve found has been word of mouth. When you plant a seed and nurture it, it grows!’
However, no start up business comes without challenges or hurdles along the way. Imposter syndrome plagued Rachel in the early days, with thoughts crossing her mind day to day, saying: ‘You’re not capable, you’re so bad with money, if you’re scared to talk about yourself then how is anyone going to find out about you?’
Rachel knew she needed support to overcome these challenges:
‘It was a slow start, not knowing many people, or even how to run a business! I was fortunate to be living with my parents which enabled me to experiment and take some risks. I signed up to some courses at The Women’s Organisation and also joined the Leading Ladies In Business Networking group, which was massively beneficial for me. I felt part of a community of like-minded people who were all working on businesses like mine.’
By choosing to apply for Community Interest Status in 2020, Rachel realised very quickly from the feedback that her work had real social value. Becoming a CIC meant that she could more easily apply for funding and work more deeply in the community.
In creating her own career with Holistic Harmonies, she has been able to not only help and support communities, but also develop her own training to further improve her services and customer experience. Even through the pandemic Holistic Harmonies stayed positive, committed, and driven to provide music for the soul and a helping hand to the city region.
‘The pandemic has actually been a blessing for me in many ways. Last March I felt like I was on a treadmill of delivering sessions and trying to find time to learn and network and build the business, but I felt like I was clutching at straws a lot of the time. In March 2020, all of my groups moved online. I was so fortunate that the Holistic Harmonies Community that I’d built up still very much wanted to stay connected – and support me personally too.’
Since then, Rachel has gone on to train in Singing for Health and as a Singing For Lung Health Practitioner, and is also beginning to work more with the NHS on the front line, and behind the scenes.
The latest news is that Holistic Harmonies have recently received an Awards For All Grant from the National Lottery. With this funding, Rachel plans to deliver 4 six-week Music & Movement programmes in care homes in January 2022, with the aim to roll it out in care homes across Liverpool and have local families joining in for continuous weekly sessions; building community and bringing generations together through music.
To find out more about Holistic Harmonies, visit their website here.
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