Friday, 1 March 2024
Friday, 1 March 2024

Nurturing the creativity of young people who face complex disadvantages

In 2021 we launched Young Voices; a music learning programme that invests in the musical talent and human potential of disadvantaged young people and seeks to improve their life chances. Young Voices is a trauma-informed, long-term music project that responds to the needs and creativity of young people who are in the criminal justice system and those who are considered at risk of entering it.

Facilitated by our Musician-Mentors, Young Voices places the young person at the centre, nurturing skills, supporting inclusion and opening up long-term opportunities, including possible representation from our lived experience record label, Red Tangent. We’re delivering Young Voices in partnership with St Matthias Park Academy and Lea Hall Academy Alternative Provision Schools, Vinney Green and Hillside Secure Children’s Homes and HMP Swinfen Hall Young Offenders Institution.

One of our Musician-Mentors who is part of the team facilitating our Young Voices programme recently reflected on the impact this work is having on young people we are working with, observing that: “The crossover between Changing Tunes’ work with adults, and this ‘preventative work’ with young people seems to have similar concepts at the core: encouragement, support, positive reinforcement and communication are all used with both participant groups. I would argue that these principles are at the root of our work and effectiveness and that music is the medium, or pathway that we, as an organisation, are in a position to use to facilitate positive outcomes among the young people we’re working with. More than ever, I see the effect of positive role models, and from my perspective, it would seem that the earlier those positive role models are in place in people’s lives, the more impact they can have on individual journeys, especially for young people who face complex barriers to realising their potential.”

The Deputy Head Teacher at Vinney Green Secure Children’s Home has also observed the value of Young Voices in relation to their educational and rehabilitative work with young residents, stating: “The work of Changing Tunes perfectly complements our vision for all young people to be immersed into an ambitious and holistic curriculum; inspired to be their best self. It is a high-quality optional alternative to the other lessons we normally run. The biggest difference we have seen in multiple young people is confidence. Many of them start off quite reluctant to engage and don’t believe they will be any good at anything musical. With careful nurturing and support, and persistent re-affirming, they gradually begin to develop not only their musical abilities but their confidence as a performer and this can also overspill into their confidence as a person. This is always so encouraging to see. At its peak, we have seen a young person create a wealth of material, so much so that in other lessons he has continued his musical drive into designing album covers in Art and creating entrepreneurial merchandise ideas in Business lessons.”

We are incredibly grateful to a host of funding partners who have made the launch of Young Voices possible, including Charles Hayward Foundation, D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, Gibbs Trust, Gloucestershire Community Foundation, Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, John Thaw Foundation, Lightbulb Trust Greenlight Fund, Rayne Foundation, Samuel Gardner Memorial Trust and SJP Foundation.

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