Youth Music’s £149K grant will help us change lives


Let’s make some noise for Youth Music, which has awarded The Garage Trust £149,000 for its Musical Journeys project. The inclusive programme will help young people across Norfolk and Suffolk hone their skills and build their confidence.

Statistics have shown a large rise in mental health issues among Norfolk’s children and young people during the pandemic, highlighting a clear and increased need for work that boosts well-being, self-esteem and aspirations.

This three-year project, supported by Youth Music using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, will focus on how music can change lives.

Singer-songwriter Finn Doherty (pictured below) was part of the Musician’s Development Programme at The Garage for several years from about the age of 14 and is now one of our patrons.

He said: “It was just such an important part of my musical journey and development as an artist, particularly as a performer. I think a massive part of the course was about developing your confidence, not only on stage but also just in terms of what you do on a creative level, so it really helped me improve me as a songwriter, as a performer, and as a singer. I think it was very all-round, it helped in every aspect.

“The tutors were very good at recognising what each individual was taking part in the course for and what they wanted to get out of it, and I always felt pushed to develop my skills. I also made a whole load of friends on the programme, one of whom I’ve actually ended up living with years later. It was such a safe space where you never felt judged and were only ever criticised constructively.”

He said taking part in Unsigned, our pre-professional mentoring programme, was amazing.

“It was just the best experience in terms of performance, and it was such a crazy opportunity to perform at one of the big Norwich venues and to learn so much from really experienced and talented musicians.

“It was like an intensive bootcamp that introduced me to all of these things that you need to know how to do as a contemporary artist, and it was great because there was something really clear that we were working towards.

“And the day in the studio was great. I was literally free to do whatever I wanted. I think I recorded a whole live EP that day. It’s really one of those opportunities you really don’t want to turn down, it’s an amazing experience for new artists.”

The Musical Journeys youth music programme provides a range of opportunities to move from complete beginner to pre-professional and will actively support those facing challenging circumstances.


Music Foundations helps young people gain confidence and skills through taking part in regular music-making classes and mentoring support.

Rock School provides a fantastic grounding in musicianship. Participants will explore making music, playing songs and styles they love and collaborating with peers.

Musician Development for Improvers will see participants find their own sound and grow in confidence as performers, with opportunities for live performances through the year.

Unsigned is pre-professional mentoring programme led by professional artists from within the music industry. It gives participants the space to further hone their music and brand, before launching into their chosen career path.

The Choir is a new, inclusive and accessible class for group singing. With a focus on singing the songs you want to sing this will be a platform for young people to express themselves through music. There will be opportunities to perform live throughout the year.

The programme will also include activities during summer holidays and work placements for music students.

Gabby Meadows, one of our Participation Programme Managers and a Tutor, said: “We’re delighted. This new funding supports our youth music programme at every level with so many opportunities between. Music at The Garage just got louder! We’re so grateful, after the difficulties of the past year-and-a-half, to be able to push forward our music provision for young people with renewed energy and with exciting new plans.

“As well as supporting and reinvigorating our music programme and ensuring it can reach as many young people as possible, this grant is going to allow us to provide some amazing opportunities for live performance, as well as training and development for our staff and music leaders, work placements for young people wanting to pursue a career in the arts, and inclusive engaging activity at each level.

“We know that being able to enjoy, play, perform and create music gives young people a stake in something which is so fundamental to the way we live. But it’s also more than that. All of these classes and courses increase young people’s confidence, self-belief and aspirations – taking the impact far beyond the walls of The Garage and into their own personal journeys.”

Youth Music is a national charity investing in music-making projects that support children and young people aged 0-25 to develop personally and socially as well as musically. The charity works particularly with those who don’t get to make music because of who they are, where they live, or what they’re going through.

Projects funded by Youth Music help to break down barriers at all stages – helping children develop an early love of music, providing diverse role models, introducing young people to a wide variety of potential career paths, and working with the music industry to make its practices more inclusive.

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