New lifeline support fund created to help more young people make music in Scotland

More than a quarter of a million pounds of lifeline funding is to be ploughed into youth music projects and initiatives in Scotland.

The Big Noise Orchestra is one of the key partners in Stirling's bid to become UK City of Culture.

Three-year grants of up to £90,000 are expected to be offered as part of a drive to give music organisations vital “breathing space” and help them bounce back from the impact of the Covid pandemic.

The charity Youth Music has created a one-off fund, worth £1.75m, which is expected to benefit around 40 organisations across the UK and is being specifically targeted at not-for-profit organisations.

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Grants secured from the Youth Music Recharge Fund, which is supported by People’s Postcode Lottery, can be used to support the wellbeing of staff, freelance, volunteers, and young people, and improved capacity and capability of organisations.

This includes spending on strategy and business planning, communications and marketing, activities to generate income, training and operational costs.

A spokeswoman for Youth Music, which is to make around £250,000 available for Scottish application, said a key aim of the new fund was to “ensure that the people, organisations and areas of the country that have received little or no funding will be able to do so through this grant and further support.”

Around £9million in Scottish Government funding is currently ringfenced for youth music initiatives across the country, which are thought to have reached more than 244,000 young people (199,000 in school and 44,000 out of school) in 2018-19.

Projects previously backed by Youth Music include Radio Earn, a new community radio station led by 18-25 year olds in Strathearn and Strathallen, the EHFM radio station in Edinburgh, which supported three emerging presenters to curate an eight-part show capturing Scotland’s music scene, Dumfries Music Conference, which worked with five emerging professionals to deliver a series of live events, and The Sound Lab, a Glasgow charity which provides free music workshops and tuition.

Applications for the new Youth Music Recharge Fund are open from today and will close on 14 January. Grant awards are expected to be made before the end of March.

Youth Music chief executive Mark Griffiths said: “Music has the power to transform lives for young people, especially those facing barriers because of who they are, where they’re from or what they’re going through.

"With young people nationwide being deeply impacted by the effects of the pandemic, equalising access to music is more important than ever.

“However, our research shows that opportunities for young people decreased during the pandemic, with 63% of music organisations from our national network reporting that they’ve had fewer resources at the same time as demand for services is increasing.

“This financial boost will ensure that grassroots music projects, and the people leading them, can bounce back better than before.

"Which means more young people can make, learn and earn in music over the next few years, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.”

Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, says: “We believe in funding projects that provide access, opportunities, and appreciation of music to people of all abilities and backgrounds, and this new fund will do exactly that.”

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