Matt Griffiths, Youth Music's CEO, introduces our latest Impact Report:
2016/17 marked the start of our new four-year business plan: Towards a Musically Inclusive England. I’m very pleased to report that we’re seeing signs that music education nationwide is becoming more inclusive.
In 2016/17 we continued to invest in innovative and creative music-making for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances. We awarded grants to 183 projects and continued to support around 200 more. Through our three funding streams, we incubated newer organisations and helped those more established to progress and scale-up. 42% of the organisations we gave grants to were new to Youth Music: we continue to make sure that we reach organisations doing innovative work.
But we know there’s so much more to do. For England to be truly musically inclusive, we need to bring about significant national changes to the music-making on offer to children beyond the projects we support. To break down barriers. To overturn outdated views. To make sure young people’s voices are heard.
Signs of change are positive. Music Education Hubs – groups of organisations working together to provide music education in and out of school – are starting to address inclusion, equality and diversity in a more strategic way. We’re investing in an increasing number of hub lead organisations not just financially but also with our evaluation and impact measurement tools, best practice guides and case studies.
We are only able to support around one third of the applications we receive – demand on our grants programme continues to outstrip what we can supply in our role as a delegated distributor of National Lottery funds. That’s why our fundraising activities are so essential – the more money we raise, the more grants we can award. In March 2017 we held our first ever Give a Gig Week, in which our supporters (and young people from Youth Music projects) put on 119 amazing gigs across the country. It’ll be even bigger and better when we do it again in 2018!
The fifth aim in our business plan is to ‘achieve organisational excellence’. For us, this means that we make sure we practise what we preach. In April 2017, we became a Living Wage Friendly Funder: the first in the arts and cultural sector. And we’ve also implemented an internship programme - so far we’ve created five long-term learning opportunities (paid at the London Living Wage of course!) for people who have, in turn, brought new skills, experiences and perspectives to the organisation.
We are extremely grateful to all the incredible trusts, foundations, companies and individuals who donate and fundraise to support our work, helping us transform the lives of children and young people nationwide. And of course special thanks must go to the National Lottery for the core funding we receive each year through Arts Council England. We really couldn’t do it without you.
I hope you enjoy reading our impact report, which is a powerful testament to the fantastic work taking place across the country by the organisations we support and the eclectic, diverse music-making created every day by and with young people. Without them, there’s no impact to report.