Starry Eyes – Stronger Communities Fund
The Starry Eyes Talent Show is a community performance group in Trowbridge. They provide a platform for people to showcase their talent and help people find their own voice and confidence in themselves through music, singing, dancing and art.
Our Stronger Communities Fund first supported the group in July 2021 and have provided further funding in March 2022. We had a chat with Sally, the founder of Starry Eyes, to learn more about the event and how the fund has helped them.
How did Starry Eyes begin?
“Trowbridge hadn't had a talent show for 11 years, so we decided to resurrect it in 2000. That was when Starry Eyes was born, and we had all sorts of acts. They didn't have to be singers, musicians, or dancers; they could be comedians, jugglers or whatever they wanted to be. It was good while it lasted but unfortunately, when the funding dried up, we were finding it very difficult.”
Sally and her late friend, Val, founded Starry Eyes together. When Val sadly passed, Starry Eyes put on a memorial show at the Longfield centre where it first started. After this, news came that another member of the group, Andrea, had found brain tumours and wanted to raise money for Alzheimer's.
"So, we rallied up the troops to commemorate their memory. With the music again on the bandstand in the park in Trowbridge, new blood is coming to Starry Eyes. Everyone started saying that we need to start these workshops again. Selwood Housing really kindly helped and because of them here we are today. We've got lots of events going on and we are giving back to the community."
With increased interest for the workshops to run and with little funding, Sally met Grace, who joined Selwood Housing for 6 months in 2021 through the Kickstarter programme. Grace, who remembered Starry Eyes from when she was younger, had put out a call to any community groups that were seeking funds.
Who does Starry Eyes help?
“It's for the community. When we started at Longfield the thing I noticed most was that there were a lot of vandalism and people didn't want to use the centre. When we were rehearsing a lot of children would come along thinking they would get kicked out and would try racing through on their skateboards and scooters. Before you knew it, they were coming over and helping and after a while, they were inspired to form a boy band. We actually were congratulated by the police commissioners as the crime rate lowered."
"It's lovely when you hear people say that it has really helped them a lot. It's a brilliant way to express feelings and get rid of their anxieties, one individual actually won "Best of the West" for song writing. We have all sorts of workshops so you can find out people's artistic talents."
How does it work as a community group?
“We have to have a committee in order to get funding and most of those people are volunteers. We try to ensure there is someone to represent all areas as we like to be inclusive. We have some real talent and people who just enjoy coming and it makes them feel important and being part of something."
What has the funding helped you to do?
“We have received funding to help hire the halls and do all the rehearsals, to pay for the bandstand and other venues, and events like the Spitfire events. It has helped us buy things like the ingredients for making the cream teas and equipment which needs replacing regularly as it is used a lot. If it were not for Selwood Housing, I don't think we'd be here having this conversation so thank you.”
Starry Eyes has received a total of £5000 through our Stronger Communities Fund to help keep the events and community workshops running.
If you could summarise Starry Eyes into four words, which fours words would you use?
“Community, creativity, fun and music. Music I've always said is the best communication tool out there. Music brings people together. You can communicate through expressing music, socialising, dancing, and song writing. It can cross barriers of age. All those barriers go, and everyone is part of the same group.”
To keep up to date with the Starry Eyes group and upcoming events, follow their Facebook page here.