Orkney churches back wellbeing songs for life schools project

Primary school children in Orkney are being given a year of free access to online teaching videos, songs and resources to help them cope with emotional issues like bullying, divorce, loss and friendship.

The Songs for Life streaming service, backed by the Scottish Government, is focused on promoting health and well-being issues and directly linked to Curriculum for Excellence.

songs for life
Orkney youngsters have a great time engaging with Songs for Life

The project, run by children’s charity Fischy Music which is running workshops in schools until Friday, has the support of Rev David McNeish, minister ofBirsay, Harray and Sandwick churches.

“The Presbytery of Orkney is delighted to make this visit possible,” he said.

“We are one church here but there are lots of other churches supporting too.

"Having shadowed Fischy’s work in schools when I was in Edinburgh, I know first-hand how enjoyable and helpful their health and wellbeing workshops are.

“It’s also great to have a chance to learn some new songs for church as well and we hope the range of events is inspiring for a whole range of people.

“Fischy really do have something for everyone.”


Charity representatives are training teachers in using Songs for Life, a resource developed in 2014, and leading workshops in eight primary schools - Burray, Hope, Stromness, Firth, Evie, Dounby, Glaitness and St Andrews.

They are also spearheading a songwriting project with children celebrating the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Magnus, Orkney’s patron Saint.

A celebratory concert is being held in Kirkwall Baptist Church on Friday at 6pm and is open to the public.

Rev David McNeish, minister of Birsay, Harray and Sandwick churches on Orkney, takes part in a Songs for Life session.

Stephen Fischbacher, founder and creative director of Fischy Music, said: “We’re excited to be able to get alongside children from Orkney.

“We travel extensively from our base in Edinburgh, but it’s not often we have the chance to spend a whole week so far north.

“We know these songs can have a really positive impact on children’s emotional lives and it is great to get the chance to help support teachers in making these resources more widely available.

“We’re really looking forward to a week packed with singing and hopefully meeting children where they are at in their lives.”


Mr Fischbacher is accompanied by musician and songwriter Margaret McLarty and newest member of the team, Christy Ringrose, from Trondheim in Norway.

The charity has its roots in the Christian Faith but the health and wellbeing songs and resources are inclusive and appropriate for all children regardless of outlook on life or religious belief.

Fischy also write songs for use in church and religious and moral education and these will be the focus of the Friday night concert.