Giving people hope through music

How is it possible to give people hope and opportunities through the music industry? Here Clayton Richards, chief executive of the National Lottery-funded Life Music Foundation, gives a life-changing example:

From a chance meeting and a discussion on the repair of the Life Music Foundation’s donated guitars, a unique opportunity was born for six unemployed people from Newport to work together within the music industry and gain financial independence – breaking away from the cycle of benefits dependency.

Life Music Foundation is a charity aimed at connecting disadvantaged under 25s with music. Based in Newport, it offers music tuition to local youngsters, as well as use of instruments and a place to play – all free of charge.

All About Guitars/All About Music, based in Usk, south Wales, creates training and work opportunities for the unemployed through music-based workshops and guitar repair – focusing on social, emotional, economic, academic and spiritual well-being.

Watch a short film about the Life Music Foundation:

We set about plans to get the donated guitars repaired and also give people hope and future opportunities at the same time. The result was the creation of a self-sustainable community-based guitar repair training program to benefit local unemployed, NEETs and low income instrument owners. It’s a project that directly supports the needs of the local community. Participants help establish the workshop, undertake the training, refine their skills and develop a job to provide low cost guitar repair services to the community.

Financially, the project focuses on four specific ways for the candidates to earn. Once a level of quality is demonstrated, each candidate receives paid session work i.e. they put their repair skills to real practise on the donated guitars. They receive a percentage of money from the sale of donated guitars they’ve worked on and they can earn from running the low cost guitar repair service for the public. They can even build their own clients using the shared resources at the Life Music Foundation.

Guitar repair workshop
Guitar repair workshop

What is special about this project, is that it has opened the doors for several people to follow a rewarding and sustainable career within the music industry – an alternative environment where many people can flourish – and it hasn’t even involved the need to learn an instrument.

The Life Music Foundation and All About Guitars have clearly shown that it is possible to give people hope and opportunities through the music industry. It is a credible and realistic choice for career development. It can give real hope and can provide endless opportunities even for less accomplished musicians. How? It just needs a little imagination, belief, a clear vision and a commitment to working with good people.

Without the National Lottery funding this project wouldn’t exist – it’s as simple as that. With the backing of the lottery we have been able to give six people a fantastic work opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have or offer the people of our community a fantastic low cost repair service. National Lottery funding is essential because, without it, projects just like ours wouldn’t be able to take shape and genuinely enrich their communities.

We firmly believe that that when good people work with good people, great things happen. When it’s done through music – it’s positively life-changing.

The benefits of repairing guitars for the community:

Editor’s note: Life Music Foundation Limited received £4,945 through the National Lottery Community Fund’s Awards for All programme to help establish a community based guitar repair service in Newport to benefit unemployed NEETs and low income instrument owners.

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