Traditional music is being brought to life in East Renfrewshire, thanks to free lessons from talented performers.

The Folks’ Music Project (TFMP) has been given a grant by Neilston Windfarm Legacy (NWL), which supports initiatives that benefit those who live in the G78 3 postcode area.

Adults and young people are able to enjoy lessons in traditional Scottish harp, fiddle and guitar, regardless of previous musical experience.

The Covid-safe sessions got underway this week and will continue every Monday night for an initial period of eight weeks at The Bank, in the village’s Main Street.

Thanks to funding from NWL, the project will also be hosting a traditional music session, open to all, once a month at the same location, as well as a weekly community folksong choir which they hope to establish in coming weeks.

TFMP was founded by Neil Wood, who was brought up in Neilston and started playing the clarsach (Scottish harp) when he was seven after it was introduced to him at a Fèis (Gaelic music and art summer camp) in the village.

He has since gone on to become a professional musician and study harp and traditional music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he is now doing a PhD in harp technique.

Neil and assistant tutor Ava Martin also held a ‘come and try’ event outside The Bank earlier this month.

We brought along harps, guitars and fiddles from Music Broth and The Nifty Harp Project and were engaging with the community and spreading the word about our community traditional music programme.

“Had it not been for the music activities happening in Neilston when I was a boy, I would not be where I am today, so I wanted to give something back to the village that got me started on my musical journey,” he told the Barrhead News.

“We aim to provide affordable, accessible and quality traditional music tuition and activities to adults and young people.

“We have had a number of other traditional music education programmes happening around the Southside but this is our first time in Neilston.

“We work closely with Music Broth, Scotland’s first musical instrument library, based in Govanhill, and the Nifty Harp Project, set up by harp maker Mark Norris. These organisations mean we can provide instruments for participants.

“The newly-renovated Bank provides the perfect space for our activities and the staff there have been so helpful.”

NWL, which is run by a voluntary board of trustees, was created following a donation of £2million from the Neilston Development Trust (NDT) in 2017.

Grants are allocated from the remaining money from the sale of the Neilston Community Windfarm that year.

They can be environmental, cultural or social initiatives, so long as they fit the NWL’s charitable objectives.

June Jones, NWL secretary, said: “”The NWL trustees were very pleased to receive an application for funding for such an interesting and carefully planned cultural project.

“We are all of us aware of what music and the other performing arts can bring to community life.

Apart from the sheer enjoyment of being part of a live event, either as a spectator or performer, music in particular has well-documented mental health benefits.

“Learning a new skill in a social setting builds confidence and reduces loneliness.

“NWL funding has already provided Neilston Pipe Band with uniforms and instruments and the junior brass band with some tutoring, so it is good now to be able to help traditional music enthusiasts.

“The fund is open to all groups in the village who have ideas for projects but need some financial assistance.”

Details of how to apply for NWL funding are available at
but, for an informal chat beforehand, simply email and leave brief details of your query and a contact phone number.”

For more about TFMP or to book a place at the free lessons, email or message the group on Facebook.