Arts Council England confirms funding of £38.6 million for Youth Music

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Arts Council England has announced that it will invest £38.6 million of National Lottery funding  in Youth Music – the national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people in challenging circumstances – between 2018 and 2022.

Each year, Youth Music funds around 350 music-making projects across England, reaching more than 75,000 children and young people. Its work supports the musical, personal and social development of children and young people as well as developing positive outcomes for the organisations it invests in and their workforce. Youth Music offers grants to diverse, creative and inclusive music-making projects – from Positive Youth Foundation‘s Changing Trax project in Coventry (where young people played a key part in the city’s successful bid to become the UK City of Culture 2021) to Tang Hall SMART CIC in York (where young people with learning disabilities are developing their composition and performance skills in rock and rap workshops).

An Arts Council review in partnership with Youth Music found that 76% of funding is awarded to projects in the 40% most deprived areas of the country. Youth Music’s focus is on providing opportunities for children and young people who would otherwise miss out and project participants are more diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity and age than those who traditionally have access to music-making.

Last year, 82% of Youth Music’s investment was in projects outside London. Youth Music will continue with their funding priorities as follows:

  • Early Years
  • children and young people who:
    • are not in education, employment or training
    • are in the youth justice system
    • are disabled
    • have special educational needs
    • are in ‘coldspots’ (where, because of their location or circumstance, they are unable to take part in the kind of music-making provision they want to access)

As part of the funding, Arts Council England will work with Youth Music to further develop progression routes for 18-25-year-olds and will build upon work in areas of low educational attainment, low social mobility and projects that support the Cultural Education Challenge. Future activity will include supporting all music education hubs to develop their music-making practice to become more inclusive.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said:

‘The potential for creativity is everywhere and every child should have the opportunity to participate, progress and build a career in the arts. Thanks to National Lottery players, the lives of young musicians across England are being transformed through this major Arts Council investment in Youth Music. High-quality music education has the capacity to change lives, especially for those children from tougher socio-economic backgrounds. We want to see them getting the same opportunities as those from more affluent families. It’s one of the many reasons that this work is so very important.’

Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music, said:

‘This investment from Arts Council England and the National Lottery is vital in helping us to effect change nationwide. It means that we can continue to support projects to offer music-making in all its diversity of genres and on instruments that reflect young people’s interests and needs. We will continue to work in partnership to break down the barriers young people face, to support their progression whichever routes they choose and to advocate for a new, inclusive model of music education.’


Header photo: Youth Music-funded project, Harmonise © Music International

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