Young Londoners Fund: how we’re using music to change young people’s lives

Young Londoners Fund - supported by the Mayor of London

The Irene Taylor Trust is delighted to be one of the first organisations to be awarded funding from the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund, an important new initiative to support young people to envisage and achieve more positive futures.

Through our Making Tracks programme, we will be supporting young people engaging with London youth offending services to build life skills, earn nationally recognised accreditation and, vitally, to grow in confidence and aspiration. The Making Tracks programme uses the creation of music as the powerful, accessible tool to facilitate personal development. Significantly, Making Tracks includes ongoing bespoke progression support for participants from our Personal Development Coordinator.

The Mayor’s £45m Young Londoners Fund was created to fund local projects that provide young people with the support they need to fulfil their potential and avoid getting caught up in crime.

By investing in projects, and young people, that are dedicated to giving young Londoners an opportunity to get involved in positive activities, we can work to help every child and teenager at risk off the streets, and away from the dangers of crime.

“The projects we’ve invested in are already making a difference to young people in London and this next phase of the £45m programme, backed up by £2.6m of City Hall investment, will help provide valuable life opportunities for almost 10,000 young Londoners.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

 

The Young Londoners Fund will allow us to support two cohorts of young people each year for the next three years, working in partnership with youth offending teams in Newham, Lewisham and Hammersmith & Fulham.

The chance for young people to work together to make new music is a much needed platform for self-expression and reflection, as we saw earlier this year when we worked with a group from Lewisham Youth Offending Service. With guidance from our team of highly-experienced, talented music facilitators, the group formed a band and together wrote and recorded music for an album, which they titled Food For Thought. This is the title track, with some painfully insightful lyrics about the devastating impact of youth violence:

 

“It was a great experience, lots of fun. If you enjoy music come along and try it out,”

Young person after taking part in Making Tracks

The community performances are an opportunity to challenge negative perceptions of young people, giving audience members a chance to see the young people in a new light:

 

“What I witnessed of those young people, who were playing instruments in a competent and cognisant manner, in such a short space of time, has given further testimony that those young people will thrive if time, and a little bit of resources are invested in them,” 

Making Tracks audience feedback

On Making Tracks, as well as an intensive creative project leading up to a performance and recording, the young people are given an exciting range of follow-on sessions to further build on their skills, explore digital music and radio production (listen to an example below!), and complete their Arts Award portfolios in order to achieve an official Level 1 qualification. After the sessions, our Personal Development Coordinator continues to offer guidance to other courses and progression opportunities, including our own Young Producers scheme.

 

If you are interested in attending future project performances in London, make sure to sign up to our invite list here.

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