A project that is transforming the lives of young people by helping them get on the career ladder in music and the creative industries has secured £4 million funding to keep it going until the end of 2018.
The Big Music Project, a partnership between Global, the media and entertainment group, and UK Youth, the largest national charity for the youth sector, has worked with more than 14,000 people aged 14 to 25 since it launched in 2014.
One of those young people is the incredible rapper, singer and songwriter Chad Ariss, who at a launch event to celebrate the Big Lottery Fund cash injection on Thursday, described how the project had helped turn his anger from experiencing domestic violence as a child into a positive.
The 21-year-old from Birmingham said: "I became an angry person. I was frustrated and I stopped caring for myself but now thanks to this, I put everything into music. It's an escapism."
-- Punch Records (@punchrecords) May 12, 2016
Chad, who performed two songs at the Global Radio event, hopes his music will help people become more concious of one another.
-- Music Potential (@MusicPotential) May 12, 2016
Another young person who has worked with the project is Oluwalinda, from Hackney, who described how becoming a vocal coach helped her overcome shyness and mentor others. She also performed at the showcase, to the delight of the crowd.
-- O L U W A L I N D A (@Oluwalinda_) February 19, 2016
The grant awarded to The Big Music Project will support young people like Chad and Oluwalinda, with a stronger focus on disadvantaged young people, more career opportunities and the expansion of the project into more UK cities.
Ant Payne, Capital presenter, added: "It can be difficult to know where to start when looking to get into the industry. The Big Music Project is providing young people with incredible opportunities to get work experience and showcase their talent. Sometimes it's just a case of getting your foot in the door somewhere and that's exactly what this project is doing for young people - giving them the confidence and networking potential to pursue their passion."
The funding will support the creation of 80 new youth hubs, which provide music-based learning opportunities for 14 to 18 year olds, bringing the total number to 110.
Capital XTRA's Music Potential, a programme that targets 18 to 25-year-olds not in education, employment or training is joining forces with The Big Music Project to increase the number of UK cities involved from two to eight.
Emma Bradley, director of Global charities, said: "Since we launched The Big Music Project two years ago, we have provided thousands of young people with the opportunity to develop the skills to help them get jobs. In the past year alone more than half the internships have led to full-time employment. This substantial grant from the Big Lottery Fund will allow us to reach even more disadvantaged young people across the UK to improve their chances of a career in the music and creative industries."
Peter Ainsworth, chairman of the Big Lottery Fund, added: "The Big Music Project is inspiring young people across the UK to improve their employment prospects and fulfil their potential. It is about using music to gain transferable skills that will help them build careers, whether in music or other creative industries. This fantastic project is just one initiative we are investing in to give young people the tools they need to build a brighter future for themselves."
To date The Big Music Project has worked with over 14,000 young people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For further information please visit The Big Music Project.