Loud and Clear sessions are funded by Youth Music and led by Sage Gateshead in partnership with Newcastle and Gateshead Local Authority Fostering Teams, Adopt North East, and Adoption Tees Valley.
Care experienced children between 0-7 years and their families attend one of three weekly sessions - Foster Family Learning, Adoptive Family Learning, or Move on Up (for adopted 5-7 year-olds). Instruments, songs, and ideas are shared so learning can continue at home.
To celebrate 10 years of Loud & Clear activity a Loud & Clear song was written by Care Experienced families who attend sessions, and a music video was created using illustrations of the activity.
Over the past 10 years Loud and Clear has worked with over 225 care experienced families over 900 sessions, alongside 14 skilled music leaders. It has also held 136 online sessions.
Laura and her adopted son Oliver discovered Loud and Clear in 2017. At adoption training, she met other families who said brilliant things about the group and inspired her to bring Oliver along. "I have bonded with other families. We've been through the same process and training, so it's a really supportive space," she says.
After a recommendation from Adopt North East in 2021, Kat and her adopted daughter Poppy started coming to the sessions. From the first class, Kat knew that Loud and Clear was the right place for them. She says, "There's a lovely sense of community, and it's brilliant fun for the children."
Reflecting on 10 years of the programme, Wendy Smith, Director, Contemporary Music and Creative Learning at Sage Gateshead said: "Loud and Clear helps to establish stability and continuity for care experienced children and builds relationships between children and their foster carers, adoptive parents and peers or siblings through music making activities such as singing and playing instruments. We are proud of everything the families, partners and the team here at Sage Gateshead have achieved over the last decade, and as we celebrate this important milestone, we are looking forward to many more years of inclusive music making."
A Newcastle Local Authority Fostering team member said: "The use of songs and movement between parent and child is the type of attachment promoting interaction we talk to our adopters about. Moreover, some of the children's early experiences have been very difficult, and they have not been given the opportunity to play spontaneously, and some will need to learn to play. For adopters too, this is a time of learning as many are new to parenting."