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Thank you from Sound Connections

As this is the final news story of 2021, we wanted to thank everyone we work with and reflect a little on the highlights and achievements of the last 12 months. It has certainly been a challenging year but what we have seen at Sound Connections is the incredible resilience, creativity, and kindness of everyone that we have been fortunate to work with.

Over 700 people have attended more than 20 online training and networking events, with 97% of places being free or heavily subsidised. We awarded four Innovate grants to music leaders to explore new ideas and approaches to working with children and young people and supported six early years practitioners with mentoring and training. We have been privileged to work with some incredible speakers, thought leaders and workshop facilitators through this process and 98% of people who attended events stated that they would definitely apply something they had learnt in their own practice.

A particular highlight was our two-day virtual Inclusive Practice in Action event with over 250 delegates on diversifying the music education workforce. Hosted by Brenda Rattray, this event provided a platform for voices that have been systemically excluded from music education events, and led to provocative, challenging, uncomfortable but supported discussions and debate. We learnt about the importance of building emotional connections, placing wellbeing and care at the centre and that inclusivity and accessibility needs proper investment.

We are fortunate to work with all 29 Music Education Hubs across London, and with Music Mark, the association which represents hubs across England. It’s been heartening to see how all of them have supported young people to make music during the pandemic, many in very inventive and creative ways. We’ve also worked with over 30 arts, cultural and heritage organisations this year and supported them in developing their evaluation approaches, strategic thinking, and youth voice and participation work.

Now in its 11th year, Wired4Music, our youth network for 16-25 year olds, has continued to meet, work and create across this year, if mostly virtually. A number of the members were successful in getting funding from Youth Music through their NextGen fund. Members also curated the online Allegro Festival which brought together performances and other opportunities. There has been a series of webinars and a new podcast and we are keen to develop more of these next year so please do keep an eye out for future opportunities! We also offered over 100 paid opportunities and awarded 12 Generate bursaries. One of the best highlights was having two members, Lavz and Pritt, nominated for Youth Music Awards and attending the ceremony at the Troxy in Tower Hamlets. We can’t wait to see where their careers take them next!

None of what we do would be possible without the ongoing support of all our funders, donors and supporters. We would particularly like to thank the National Foundation for Youth Music for ongoing support for our work across London. We were also very fortunate to receive investment from Arts Council England through their Cultural Recovery Fund. This support was vital in sustaining our work with young people and organisations during the pandemic and will enable us to plan with confidence as we move into 2022.

Finally, thanks must go to the team at Sound Connections and our Trustees. None of this would happen without them.

Wishing you a very festive and restful break and we look forward to working, and hopefully seeing you, in 2022!

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Support our work with London's young music makers. Donate Now