Bristol Beacon chosen to lead regional music education hub for young people

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It’s one of the first music charities based in a concert hall to become a Music Hub Lead organisation.

Arts Council England has appointed the local music venue and charity, Bristol Beacon, to lead the West of England Music Hub from September 2024 in partnership with West of England Music and Arts (WEMA), as part of the Government’s new National Plan for Music Education.

The venue will receive a £1,933,874 investment from the Department of Education; £1,455,692 will be used to coordinate music education in the local area and the remainder will be used to buy new musical instruments, equipment and technology tailored to the needs of children and young people in the West of England.

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The investment will allow the Beacon to connect children and young people across the West of England region and enable them to get involved with the music industry directly through encounters with professional musicians and performances via the Beacon’s artistic programme.

A key role of the new hubs will be to ensure that more young people in the West of England with special educational needs and disabilities have access to an excellent music education and have the opportunity to progress.

Adam Kent, Director of Creative Learning and Engagement at Bristol Beacon, said: “Through the current music hub arrangements, we are already delivering our citywide music education programme in around 92% of Bristol’s schools, benefitting over 30,000 children and young people.

Credit: Chris Cooper/ ShotAwayCredit: Chris Cooper/ ShotAway
Credit: Chris Cooper/ ShotAway

“Access to music can create a lifelong love of music, create joy and aspiration, and of course it feeds the UK’s future talent pipeline. We believe all young people should have the opportunity to engage in musical experiences – from learning instruments to participating in and watching live performances – and we have a strong focus on reaching everyone, with dedicated programmes to support young people with special educational needs and disabilities and those that are in or have experience of the care system.

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“We’re absolutely delighted to have been chosen to lead the new West of England Hub and look forward to working in partnership with West of England Music and Arts and reaching even more young people through our programme. This important work could not happen without this vital public funding for which we are extremely grateful.”

Sandra Meadows MBE, Vice Chair of Bristol Beacon’s board of trustees, said: “Being appointed as one of the new regional Music Education Hubs is a real honour and recognition of the fantastic work Bristol Beacon’s music education team has been delivering over the last few years.

“The team works tirelessly to reach young people from all backgrounds and abilities across the city and now has an amazing new cultural base in the transformed education spaces in the venue that will open up music and create incredible opportunities for even more young people.”

Simon Lock, Chief Executive at West of England Music and Arts, said: “West of England Music and Arts is delighted to be working alongside Bristol Beacon to deliver the next phase of the Government’s Music Education strategy as the region’s Music Hub. We look forward to continuing to deliver our mission to ensure everyone, especially the most vulnerable and those who face barriers, can thrive through the power of music.

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“Through the new Music Hub partnership, we will be able to build even bigger musical communities for those who love music for its wellbeing, social and emotional impact to those who strive for a career in the music industry. This new partnership between West of England Music and Arts and Bristol Beacon represents an even brighter future for young people’s music across the West of England.”

Bristol BeaconBristol Beacon
Bristol Beacon

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: "Music education is enormously powerful – it can enrich young people's lives, help them connect with the people around them, and start them on the pathway to fruitful and fulfilling careers.

“We are excited to announce this investment in a new generation of Music Hubs, which will support the brilliant work of our dedicated music teachers across the country, and help bring high-quality music education to even more children and young people in every part of England."

Phil Gibby, South West Area Director at Arts Council England, said: “We’re thrilled to award over £9.4 million from the Department for Education to seven new Music Hubs across the South West. Each Hub Lead Organisation is set to enable high-quality musical activities to thousands of children and young people in the region, so that everyone everywhere can pick up an instrument and express themselves.

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“A further £3 million will boost access to industry-spec technology and equipment, helping to raise ambitions and remove barriers to the artform. We can’t wait to see a new generation of talent sing, compose and play their way to a more inclusive future. Thanks to public funding and the work of talented teachers and practitioners, that vision is possible.”

To learn more about the Music Education Hubs visit https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/MusicEducationHubs

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