The Jam, The Mix, The Gig

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (16:16): I move:

That this council—

1. Acknowledges the extraordinary work of The Jam, The Mix, The Gig (The JMG)—a longstanding and successful community arts mental health program;

2. Notes The JMG’s previous shared funding arrangement via the SA Mental Health and Substance Abuse program and Arts SA’s Arts Organisations (Disability) Program;

3. Notes with concern that The JMG’s application for funding through Arts SA has not been renewed; and

4. Calls on the Government to work with stakeholders including Arts SA to explore alternative funding pathways to ensure that The Jam, The Mix, The Gig (The JMG) can continue this important program.

I move this motion to acknowledge the extraordinary work of The Jam, The Mix, The Gig and note that The Jam, The Mix, The Gig, as an arts mental health program of some longstanding in this state, has not secured the $26,000 per annum it needs to keep the program going. While it has secured the mental health component of its funding for this year and into the future, it has not secured the arts component of that funding.

I raise this issue to draw it to the attention of all members of this place (in the other place and in this council chamber). A small amount of money, $26,000, for a program which if we did not already have it in this state we would have to recreate. I feel it is something that should not go unnoticed by this place and that we should all make every effort to save The Jam, The Mix, The Gig for its valuable work. It has already seen strong community support, with almost 400 people signing a petition that was forwarded to minister Snelling in February, drawing his attention to the impact that the loss of The Jam, The Mix, The Gig will have. I will note just some of the words of those who signed that petition. Jim wrote, in support of this program receiving ongoing funding:

This group used to meet at the SA Folk Centre before it closed down. I worked behind the bar there for several years and enjoyed numerous gigs organised by the musicians. I can personally vouch for the benefits of the program gained by the participants.

Keith writes:

This program contributed to saving mine and many others' lives. It gave me purpose and strength and courage to follow my passions and be the artist that I am today. I believe this would be a great mistake to pull the funding for this amazing program.

Bonnie says:

Such a worthy cause, music has that feel good vibe, it can bring out of a low moment or take you to your wildest dreams.

Dino says:

There is no question about the value and therapeutic benefits of music…countless scientific studies can validate that the benefits are enormous! Let's hope that individuals and groups using music for the purposes of healing and promoting optimal states of health and well-being can continue to be supported.

Helen says:

Variety and quality of musical experiences are essential for promotion of wellbeing of those affected by mental health issues. Already these people are disadvantaged through the loss of the Bach to Blues Programme. Speak up on their behalf.

Jenny says:

Survivors of mental health need this program to keep us sane or happy or positive. Don't rob us of such a great support outlet for our creativity.

These are just some of the dozens of messages of support. I note that usually when there is an online petition people simply sign up and do not write why they are signing, but The Jam, The Mix, The Gig has dozens of such messages from people who have been personally impacted by the power of this program. I say to those members listening that if you really want to tackle mental health one of the best ways to do it is through the arts, and music is a perfect art in this case that has been successful in not only supporting those who suffer from mental ill health, but in providing a way for them to promote and progress in their journeys to recovery.

So what is The Jam, The Mix, The Gig? Well, there is the jam, the mix, and the gig; pretty simple, really. The Jam is a music jam session where you can go and share your music skills with others, try out some ideas, write some songs, or just have a go and enjoy being part of having a good time with music. That is held twice a month. The Mix is a music skills development session and a chance to present your songs or poetry or whatever it is you have to bring to the group and get help in developing your confidence and skills. It is also held twice a month.

Then there is The Gig, which many of us would be familiar with not necessarily as performers but certainly as audience members. The Gig is a performance event to a general public audience. It gives participants the opportunity to perform their work to the best of their abilities and to receive recognition for this. There are various performances throughout the year.

I know there is a raft of opportunities for performances, and, of course, many of them have been most welcome and celebrated events of mental health weeks, but they go much broader than that. I note that legendary Adelaide musician Chris Finnan, who I was honoured to help induct into the Blues Hall of Fame and who has been internationally recognised for his work around the world, is just one of the many musicians who have been involved in the gig section of The Jam, The Mix, The Gig.

Heather Frahn—again, a well-known South Australian artist—has been involved in The Jam, The Mix, The Gig for a long time, and she says, in her support of the continuation of funding for the JMG:

The JMG is a crucial music community program. I can't imagine Adelaide without it! It fills an important role that has helped literally save lives over the years. I can't think of any other community program that has done so much for people with mental illness in terms of skill development, connection, creativity and opportunity. Please keep it going.

I hope this motion is just one small part of ensuring that we can keep it going. I know the minister has suggested that Arts SA work with The Jam, the Mix, the Gig to identify possible funding opportunities, and I draw attention to the fact that the Adelaide City Council recently held onto the bond from the Soundwave music festival when they exceeded noise limitations put on them. I suggest that perhaps a good use of that bond would be to keep The Jam, The Mix, the Gig going. We will certainly write to the city council to see if they will consider that request.

It is $26,000 per annum to keep this valuable, well-recognised and loved program going, which is but a drop in the ocean. It is a small drop, but it will have a massive impact. I look forward to other members of this place making a contribution and taking an interest in the campaign to keep The Jam, the Mix, the Gig going. I will be bringing this motion to a vote, and I look forward to working with members of this place to ensure that when we do bring it to a vote we have a happy and positive solution. They say that music may soothe the savage beast, but it may also make mental health more possible. With that, I commend this motion to the council.

 

Legislative Council
Wednesday 20 October 2016

 

Motion brought to a vote.

THE JAM, THE MIX, THE GIG

 

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. T.A. Franks:

That this council—

1. Acknowledges the extraordinary work of The Jam, The Mix, The Gig (The JMG)—a longstanding and successful community arts mental health program;

2. Notes The JMG's previous shared funding arrangement via the SA Mental Health and Substance Abuse program and Arts SA's Arts Organisations (Disability) Program;

3. Notes with concern that The JMG's application for funding through Arts SA has not been renewed; and

4. Calls on the government to work with stakeholders including Arts SA to explore alternative funding pathways to ensure that The Jam, The Mix, The Gig (The JMG) can continue this important program.

(Continued from 9 December 2015.)

The Hon. S.G. WADE ( 21:37 :13 ): I rise on behalf of the Liberal team to support this motion to acknowledge the extraordinary work of The Jam, the Mix, the Gig. The JMG is a music and mental health program based in Adelaide. It provides an opportunity for people living with mental ill-health to come together to play music and prepare public performances. The program is based, fundamentally, on the concept of music as a form of therapy.

Music is a balm in the lives of many of us, and I am happy to say that I use music as therapy. The Jam, the Mix, the Gig uses music self-consciously as therapy. It is open to all who experience a range of mental health issues, including schizophrenia, depression and substance abuse. It uses music not only as a therapeutic pathway away from illness but as a way for participants to progress in their journeys to recovery.

Having said that I can identify with music as therapy, I do so as a consumer and not a performer. The prospect of music performance fills me with trepidation, perhaps as public speaking does for some people. The JMG, on the other hand, uses music performance and encourages people to express themselves through their music. They are invited into a space where they can meet and work together with people facing similar difficulties to them and to share their passion for music.

The chance to focus their energy in such a productive way often helps participants to nurture a sense of meaning and helps distract them from the daily struggles that are often faced by people with mental health issues. The opportunity to perform live at The Gig is, apparently, a unique way for participants to rebuild confidence, self-worth and motivation. They can demonstrate the fruit of their work to a live audience.

The program, which is funded by the Northern Communities Health Foundation and the SA Mental Health and Substance Abuse portfolio is a valuable program in terms of mental health and arts. It also has received Arts SA funding and it is welcome news to hear that that funding has been reaffirmed. The JMG is a group that has had a positive impact on the lives of many people and the Liberal team appreciate the opportunity to recognise their work through this motion. We welcome the renewal of state government funding and commend the motion to the house.

The Hon. J.M. GAZZOLA (21:40:05): I move to amend the motion as follows:

Delete paragraphs 3 and 4 and insert:

3. notes SA Health continued providing The Jam, The Mix, The Gig with grant funding for a further two-year period from 1 July 2014 until 30 June 2016 , and increase d the amount provided from $10,000 per year to $10,500;

4. notes that in 2016, SA Health renewed its commitment of grant funding to The Jam, The Mix, The Gig for a further two- year period from 1 July 2016 until 30 Jun e 2018 at the amount of $10,820  annually;

5. notes that in 2015 , The Jam, The Mix, The Gig received a grant of $12,030 from Arts SA to assist the organisation to explore alternative funding pathways;

6. notes that in 2015 , The Jam, The Mix, The Gig were successful in obtaining grant support from the Northern Communities Health Foundation, the Prospect Lions Club and the Prospect Rotary Club totalling $26,000;

7. notes that in 2016 , The Jam, The Mix, The Gig were successful in securing continued funding from the Northern Communities Health Foundation for two further years ( 2016 - 17 and 2017 -18 ) of $25,000 per year, conditional upon the continuation of the SA Health funding for the same period;

8. notes that The Jam, The Mix, The Gig has been encouraged to discuss future grant applications with relevant Arts SA program managers, noting that all grant programs are peer assessed and that the highly competitive nature of all programs remains; and

9. notes that any funding provided beyond June 2018 will need to be assessed , with consideration given to budgetary constraints and other priorities.

In turn, I will discuss the amendments I have put forward further, but, of course, firstly, I wish to thank the Hon. Tammy Franks for raising these matters and I acknowledge the work of The Jam, The Mix, The Gig with people who experience mental health issues. I also acknowledge the Premier and the relevant ministers for their continued support for the arts and creative industries.

Arts SA, in partnership with SA Health, has funded The Jam, The Mix, The Gig since 2009. The program was majority funded through Arts SA grant schemes, with mental health services providing a co-contribution of approximately one-quarter of program costs.

The program consists of an annual program of music workshops, sessions and performances, whereby people who have, or are recovering from, a mental illness can participate in a range of ways from music exploration sessions (The Jam) to music skills development (The Mix) and music performances (The Gig).

The program encourages self-expression and social interaction through being part of a group activity. It also gives participants a sense of achievement through personal skills development, including the ability to work in a team. Participants report greater confidence and connections with others. There is a core group of 40 members, who meet on a regular basis at the Prospect Town Hall, with the program reaching about 75 people over the course of the year.

In July 2014, SA Health made a commitment to continue providing The Jam, The Mix, The Gig with grant funding for a further two-year period from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2016 and increase the amount provided from $10,000 to $10,500 per year.

SA Health representatives met with representatives from The Jam, The Mix, The Gig on 16 January 2015 to discuss their concerns and the impacts of funding from Arts SA ceasing. At this meeting it was identified that there were additional funds available, and other funding options worthy of further investigation by The Jam, The Mix, The Gig were discussed. SA Health representatives also reaffirmed that the commitment to provide funding until the end of June 2016 would be honoured.

The Jam, The Mix, The Gig presented a highly competitive application for funding through Arts SA's Arts Organisations (Disability) Program 2015, and the independent peer panel assessed all applications against the program's criteria. The organisation's application was not successful in the competitive funding round against the criteria that address quality artistic outcomes. The recommendations for funding are made after a thorough and well considered process. I value the work of the independent peer assessment panels and the integrity that members bring to the assessment process.

All applications for Arts SA Arts Organisations programs are advised that meeting the funding criteria and performing well in the previous funding period does not necessarily entitle an applicant to funding beyond the current funding period. Ultimately, an applicant's success rests on its merits against the criteria in competition with other applicants. In 2015, The Jam, The Mix, The Gig received a grant of $12,030 from Arts SA to assist the organisation to explore alternative funding pathways.

I have been advised that Arts SA maintained regular communication with representatives of the organisation regarding its future directions. In 2015, The Jam, The Mix, The Gig were successful in obtaining grant support from the Northern Communities Health Foundation, the Prospect Lions Club and the Prospect Rotary Club, totalling $26,000. Following a review of all agreements with non-government organisations expiring 30 June 2016, SA Health renewed its commitment of grant funding to The Jam, The Mix, The Gig for a further two-year period from 1 July 2016 until 30 June 2018 at the amount of $10,820 annually.

In 2016, The Jam, The Mix, The Gig were successful in securing continued funding of $25,000 per year from the Northern Communities Health Foundation for a further two years conditional upon the continuation of SA Health funding for the same period. The Jam, The Mix, The Gig has been encouraged to discuss future grant applications with relevant Arts SA program managers, noting that all grant programs are peer assessed and that the highly competitive nature of all programs remains.

The South Australian government has a strong commitment to the disability arts sector and Arts SA, providing support directly to artists and organisations through the Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability program and to a range of organisations that work with artists with disability and the broader disability arts sector.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT (21:48:10): I only want to say a few words to put on the record Dignity for Disability's support of this motion, mostly for reasons that I have already outlined in a previous contribution on another matter which is that it is often community peer based programs which do the most good in terms of genuinely advancing and maintaining positive mental health. So, we are very grateful for the role that The Jam, The Mix, The Gig play in that, and we are happy to see that their funding situation seems to be at least somewhat rectified such that they can continue that important work.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (21:48:53): I rise to thank those who have made a contribution to this motion on The Jam, The Mix, The Gig. Certainly when I moved this motion, I did not think that we would be seeing the great advances and the security of the future of the JMG that we have seen, so I welcome not only that but indeed the interest of members, local government and other bodies in ensuring that the JMG continues into the future. It is a bright future, and it is a future that is coming about because of that important role that the arts and music can play in good mental health.

It is something that the medical model can never replace. It is something that is to be commended in terms of the work of those involved in The Jam, The Mix, The Gig in quite a wonderfully collaborative and wonderfully creative program that they have developed and it is something of which South Australians and now parliament should justifiably be proud. It is wonderful news to see that the financial future of this program is secured for the time being, and I look forward to a long and bright future for the JMG.

I did not get to see them at the Semaphore Music Festival because of the storms. I was at the Flower Shed, unfortunately, and I was not near or within easy walking distance of St Bede's Church, and the weather was quite awful, but I know that that one of their most recent gigs, but of course The Jam and The Mix are just as important parts of this project, and long may they continue. Thank you to those members who have made a contribution, and congratulations to both the government and the local government agencies that have ensured the future of the JMG.

Amendment carried; motion as amended carried. 

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