A Sunderland-based arts organisation, We Make Culture CIC, has received a large funding boost from Arts Council England to expand one of its current programmes, Young Musicians Project.

The £15,000 funding will help We Make Culture CIC secure its core group, which meets weekly at Pop Recs Ltd on a Saturday and is for 11-21 year olds.

It will also enable the organisation to offer more music workshops in different genres, music technology training and to work in schools and new community settings.

We Make Culture CIC will also support promising young musicians in the city to develop their talent, through mentoring, masterclasses and more chances to record and play in professional venues.

The organisation will also be supported by Sunderland Music Hub, Sunderland Culture, Generator and Pop Recs Ltd.

Laura Brewis, director and project manager of We Make Culture CIC, says “We are over the moon to secure this funding, which will allow us to develop the Young Musicians Project from a single group to a programme of diverse musical opportunities for young people.

We see the young musicians we work with as the next generation of musical talent in the city, following in the footsteps of bands and musicians such as Kenickie, Nadine Shah, The Futureheads and Field Music”.

“We have a strong history in the city of successful bands coming out of youth projects, such as The Bunker and Dave Murray’s Detached Youth Project, and we’re lucky to have many professional musicians who are keen to pass on their skills.

It’s really inspiring for the young people to work with professionals and learn about what a career in music entails.”

Young Musicians Project is led by professional musicians, including Marty Longstaff (The Lake Poets), Beccy Young (This Little Bird) and Natasha Haws.

In the past year, the group have worked with local Mercury Prize nominated artists Nadine Shah and David and Peter Brewis (Field Music), and have recorded in the Field Music studios. Tom Hawick, of upcoming Sunderland band the Roxy Girls who have recently recorded sessions for Radio 6 Music, attended the Young Musicians Project and has returned to lead group sessions as a peer mentor.

Marty Longstaff (The Lake Poets), session leader at Young Musicians Project says “It’s a real privilege working with such fantastic young musicians and to have the opportunity to build a musical community in the city.

Musicians being supportive of each other has always been one of the best things about Sunderland’s music scene and it’s great to see it carried on”.

Young Musicians Project began in 2015, as a song writing project started by regional writing development agency New Writing North. We Make Culture CIC took over the group in 2018 and have broadened the group’s activity to include producing, recording and performing.

The group recently took on their own space in Pop Recs Ltd and have performed at Sage Gateshead, Summer Streets Festival and The Warren in Hull.

Weekly sessions run at Pop Recs Ltd in term time on a Saturday at 11am-1pm and are free. For more information about the group and the programme, contact [email protected] or check Young Musicians Project on Facebook

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