We're delighted to have been awarded funding by Youth Music, The National Lottery and Arts Council England allowing us to continue building our Music Connects project in partnership with Surrey Arts.
Music Connects started in 2020 in response to the increase in social isolation during lockdown. For displaced young people beginning new lives in the UK, one of the many challenges is how to build positive connections within their new community. Language and cultural barriers, separate ESOL classes in colleges and the lack of family and community networks make it challenging to meet and mix with local young people.
This works both ways. Many young people growing up in Surrey have no idea how many of their peers are restarting new lives in the same area, often alone and after great hardship. There are very few opportunities for these two groups to meet and make friends and we wanted to change that.
The first phase of this project brought together young people from both displaced and local youth communities in Surrey to write and record a song, mostly online. It was such a success that we ran a second residential programme at Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development (SOLD). For three days, cultural and background differences were put aside and we focused on working together to write and perform a song. You can read more about this project here.
"The amount of friendship and happiness that was shared really stood out. The project gave me new friends, perspectives, abilities and memories all of which I am very grateful for." J, Music Connects Participant
With thanks to the brilliant Surrey Arts tutors for their guidance, the team at SOLD for their support and to the participants themselves for their enthusiasm, creativity and open-mindedness.
The final track, 'I Will Find My Way,' is now finished. It is a complete blend of languages and musical styles from around the world and is a collaborative project. You can stream it now on Soundcloud.