THE OLD COURTS YOUNGSTERS CAN KEEP ON ROCKIN’
We are pleased to announce that our School of Rock project is being supported by Youth Music, using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The grant of £6,061 in emergency funding, means that that we can now restart School of Rock and reconnect with young people when they need music the most. The School of Rock is a collaboration between The Old Courts and Wigan Music Service which was started back in 2015 using a blend of professional music teachers, musicians and volunteers. Since then, School of Rock (SOR) has provided the space, support and expert guidance so young people aged 11-17 can create original music with feeling. To date, School of Rock has produced over 57 musicians in Wigan, a town with one of the lowest levels of cultural engagement in the UK and in the 20% worst areas for IMD deprivation. Jonathan Davenport, Artistic Director said: “Due to Covid-19, we had to close our doors to the public, meaning that we had no choice but to completely pause School of Rock. We run School of Rock at a financial loss but it is a project that we are passionate about so we make up the short fall with profits made on drinks and ticket sales but with neither of those things happening we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to continue with School of Rock until maybe 2021. This gap in the programme would have had a detrimental effect on our young people’s music skills, mental health, confidence and relationships during this crisis period. Music can open up amazing conversations about bullying, mental health, anxiety and grief and we recognise that we need to support our young people now more than ever. We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Youth Music for their amazing support. Their grant means that we can make our studios Covid-safe, can purchase additional equipment to avoid mass-sharing, and can cover the costs of the programme whilst our doors are otherwise closed to the public. For our young people, this means that they can once again connect with each other, our supportive team, and their music.” Graham Millington, parent of School of Rock attendees said: “School of Rock is a unique opportunity for youngsters to develop their musical ability and perform regularly in front of a live audience. However, as a parent of two teenage girls I see far greater value in the School of Rock experience than simply the musical benefits .I have watched both my girls grow from their slightly self-conscious first attempts at appearing on a stage and blossom into wholly confident young women able to stand before an audience without fear. I have seen them develop interpersonal and management skills that will hugely benefit them in their working lives. They have learned how to work as a team towards a common goal, how to take account of competing aims to draw the best out of individuals, and how to listen and learn from others. Most importantly, as young women they have learned that their voices are as valid as their male contemporaries, and how to make those voices heard. The School of Rock has given my girls an innate sense of self-worth, self-belief and self confidence that money simply can't buy. I am genuinely immensely grateful to The Old Court’s team and SOR, Lindsey, Ben and the team do a magnificent job of drawing out musical talent and directing the kid’s energies in a positive direction. The SOR has given both of them a safe space to enjoy being with like-minded kids enjoying developing their musical skills and learning so much about what they can achieve together and individually. It is an enormous relief that this incredible asset can continue thanks to the funding from Youth Music”.