This year we also built on the hard work of our Tom in relation to music, and turned it into a proper project. Some of you may know that Tom’s passion is music, if you spend ten minutes with him you soon realise. We try and play to our teams’ strengths and now that’s what he’s working on half the time – developing young people through music. This can mean teaching someone an instrument from scratch, honing their skills further or talent development for bands – we do it all. This project forms part of our strategic approach to live music locally. We recognised that it’s important to invest in young people and to ensure the great local scene continues; we need to make sure there’s a pipeline of talent coming through. For that to happen, a physical, equipped space with skilled support is essential. We provide free access to rehearsal, recording and performance space and opportunities, allowing young people to refine their sound and develop their confidence.
Bands like Finno, Joe Russell-Brown, The Nancy’s, Kingsway and the Grime crew have already benefitted from this. But we’ve also worked with 55 other young people and some of our best outcomes are with those who have never played or performed before. One young girl who was a CSE survivor went from complete disengagement with school to plotting her college studies from the confidence she gained on the project. Another, whose Mother sadly passed away, has a creative outlet and music has been critical in enabling her to develop positive relationships through which she can begin to open up and process her feelings.
Music can broaden horizons. When it’s at its best, it challenges the status quo, opens up different points of view and encourages creative expression. In this project music is our tool to engage and unlock aspiration but tying it in with live experience, encouraging young people to see and try new things.
This is our own little punk movement. Punk isn’t time bound to the seventies and it shouldn’t be wrapped in a British flag. It doesn’t mean spitting and safety pins to us. It’s a DIY ethos, a questioning, rebellious spirit and a cultural exchange. In the current climate (bleurgh) that spirit is needed just as much today as it was when it first emerged. We want socially conscious, engaged and active young people, our own little punks.