Formerly we also ran an Open Session group, which sadly has had to close. We are very grateful to South Yorkshire Community Foundation for the funding they provided which allowed this group to drum together through the pandemic. Please see the feedback and some of the press coverage below.

Some feedback from members of RAD:

“RAD has given me new skills, challenging me in new ways because I struggle with co-ordination and learning sequences. I find drumming really therapeutic. The group is such a lovely bunch of people, and such a mixture – very down-to-earth Rotherham folk. I never imagined I would be performing in public as a drummer!”

Drumming has become a great passion for me through RAD, which is quite surprising considering I am dyspraxic! Also autistic! I struggle with social situations but RAD is the one thing I keep going to at the moment as a regular commitment. II even taught the Thurcroft group on a regular basis before the current restrictions. I have led performances when we performed in public. I love that RAD has given me the joy of the rhythms and the contact with different cultures.”

“Drumming has given me a great confidence boost as I get older. Great fun!”


Although the group kept in touch though Facebook and Messenger, it soon became apparent just how much people were missing drumming together. We agreed to drum in our own streets for the NHS, and out of that came a wonderful and surprising development. On one street, Clifton Grove, neighbours borrowed drums and joined in from their own doorsteps and driveways. Then other members of the group walked across and drummed with them from a social distance. This grew until Rotherham Council agreed to let us use Clifton Bandstand and its surrounding area to continue to drum together in a socially distanced way outside every Tuesday. This turned out to be a magical and uplifting experience.

Rotherham African Drums (or “RAD”) is a volunteer-run organisation that provides the opportunity for adults with learning and other disabilities to drum together.

We are a member of ROAR. As our supportive umbrella body they provide us with very useful things like our Safeguarding Policy, our Public Liability Insurance, our Complaints Procedure and lots of positive encouragement and support! They will also be able to tell you more about us if you telephone them: 01709 835747.

Where are we based?

At the moment sessions are online with carehomes, or at SENSE day care centre, where numbers are restricted according to the regulations. When lockdown lifts we think we will open up the session at SENSE for everyone in this group. Watch this space for information later in the year.

Paul Butler and Tongesayi Gumbo – RAD’s drumming teachers

RAD’s drumming teachers are Paul Butler and Tongesayi Gumbo.

Paul’s career in drum facilitation started in 1999 with an organisation called ‘Yorkshire Youth and Music/Sounding Out’ whose main aims were to bring disaffected children back into mainstream education through different forms of music. From the success of this Paul went on to found Drummers United.

Tongesayi Gumbo comes from Zimbabwe. He is the African Dance Workshop Leader at adad, Choreographer/DanceTeacher at Drummers United and Artistic Director at Khula African Arts.

Paul and Tongesayi have been working with RAD for three years, teaching both the LDD group as well as the other groups helping them progress and introducing new techniques.