Ruairidh has been coming to Paragon programmes for several years now, and regularly helps us out during sessions as a volunteer. He is an integral part of the Stride supergroup, and has been developing his own music on our Horizons mentorship programme. He wrote this for us, back in 2018:

My name is Ruairidh Whitmarsh.

I am a 21 year old college student at West College Scotland, Clydebank Campus, who has just started on a work experience placement with Paragon.

I started in the organisation by going to Paragon’s Play On sessions from 2013-17, where I was learning to play classical guitar, drums, African djembe, and group playing.

In early 2017 I started to help out informally at the Stomp and Shuffle groups set up for the youngest age group, as well as helping with Beat It - Paragon’s music programme for adults.

I have always had a passion for music and rhythm is my forte, something I really feel! Paragon has really helped my creativity and let me make what ever I like, by myself or in groups.

Paragon is truly a fantastic, great organisation that means a lot to everyone who has ever been to a music or dance workshop or a performance of music by one or more of the Paragon groups. I certainly would recommend coming to one of the Stomp, Shuffle or Beat It Sessions. One of the M3 dance classes might also be benifical to your children/ adolescent youths. Above all these are good times to socialise and have fun. I certainly do when ever I am taking part in one of the workshops. I can say as one of the founding Paragon students, what has never changed is the absolute feeling of getting lost in making music and forgetting any problems that I’ve been having outside of the sessions. I let everything just ebb away, and let the sound and feel of the music be all I’m concentrating on while I’m there, which is soooo good! Afterwards I feel much better about everything else.

Thank you, Paragon! You are the best bunch of musicans and people I have ever known… apart from my family and the many friends I have made at school, college and other groups I have been part of over the years.

Your work is very important to me and I still love coming to assist! You have given me so, so, so much and I like performing on stage with you all, especially when it is my own music that I have written!

To finish, Paragon is, I believe, creates a wonderful space for those who may find it hard to express themselves and communicate. I always say, “Music is the key to letting yourself relax, to become free of your worries worries. And it’s definitely also about enjoying yourself!”

In short; Paragon understands the potential and recognises the talent in every individual who crosses the threshold, whether for Horizons or any of the other workshops.

The End!!