Musos play bridge the gap

VIP Rocks coordinator Nigel Healy (left) with drummer Karina, guitarist David and vocalist Marissa at The Shed in Northbridge.
VIP Rocks coordinator Nigel Healy (left) with drummer Karina, guitarist David and vocalist Marissa at The Shed in Northbridge.

Twice a month they play at The Shed in Northbridge with VIP Rocks.

The band is part of not-for-profit Valued Independent People (VIP), aimed at providing a better quality of life for people with a disability.

The Shed owner Bridget Kenny said it was amazing to see such a positive initiative come out of an entertainment precinct which often got a negative rap.

‘Northbridge gets such a bad name and people don’t realise what other things go on here,’ Ms Kenny said.

‘There such a great sense of community and this program is making a real difference in people’s lives.’

While The Shed has provided a free venue decked out with disability-friendly facilities, snacks and refreshments for bands over the past six years, VIP Rocks coordinator Nigel Healy has given up his free time to mentor and teach the members how to play the instruments.

Mr Healy said it had not only changed their lives for the better but also his own.

‘To be able to come somewhere like this with the lights and the music and perform in front of crowds would normally never happen for them, so it’s just out of this world,’ he said.

‘Some of the people involved have really come out of themselves.

‘One girl won’t speak to anyone, she barely gets out of the house but if she knows she is coming here she will sit down, front and centre, and sing; people are blown away.’

VIP chief executive Rel Morris hoped the initiative would build a stronger and more inclusive community.

‘These aren’t piecemeal things, these are valued and genuine roles the guys play; its not about creating a life around them it’s about trying to get them out there living life,’ she said.

‘It’s just about saying these guys have a right to come out and have fun, no matter who they are and what venue they are at ” it’s about trying to bridge that gap of segregation.’