Room covers a number of youth projects at the John Innes Youth Centre where young people in and around South Wimbledon can chill, relax and take part in sports, art and music. Music Room, which is the music project, has been running at the centre for the last five years. The free weekly sessions are targeted at 11-18 year olds, and runs from 4-6pm on Wednesday evenings.
The John Innes Youth Centre boasts its own recording studio and a wide range of musical instruments and equipment, giving its users the tools to develop their musical skills and also be creative in the process.
Life and me
Sixteen year old Sam, who is a volunteer, sees the music project as a great opportunity to express himself. Music Room has helped him to learn how to produce music and has given him the opportunity to record his first track entitled ‘Life and me’. Sam is inspired by artists such as Eminem and Biggie Smalls and likes to listen to Rap and Urban music.
Outside of the music project Sam studies plumbing at South Thames College in Merton. He also attends Arts Room and Sports Room; the sport and art projects at the centre. Because of his engagement and hard work in all activities, in 2014 he was nominated by his peers for the Jack Petchey Award (LINK). Sam decided to donate his £200 winnings to the Music Room project to invest in musical equipment.
Passion for music
Woody who is also sixteen has been attending the music project for the last three years; he has now decided to become a volunteer and hopes to have an impact on other users like the project has had on him. Speaking to Woody, it is clear that music is a big part of his life. He likes to sing, play the guitar and also record his own music.
Music Room Co-ordinators Josh and Michael are both passionate about music and working with young people. Michael is currently studying Youth Work and Ministry at University and believes that a good rapport with young people is vital for sustaining engagement at the youth centre. Josh claims that “numbers don’t matter, it’s about the impact” and says what the project does so well is to break down social barriers and teaching the youth leadership skills and helping them to build confidence.
Black History Month
The project also takes youngsters out into the community by organising gigs; they also put on themed performances and are currently working on a special gig night for Black History Month, which is happening in October.
The music project is a great place for young people to express how they feel and engage in their musical talents. One of the great aspects of the project is that the users come with their own ideas for activities and the leaders will help them to start it up; this makes it a great place for young people to have fun and enjoy music.
Also, the co-ordinators are very passionate about their role which has a positive effect on the young people’s lives, and this inspires them to volunteer and give back to the community.
By Anthony Jones, YMCA LSW Volunteer.