The highlight of this week was a visit to Standon Hall in Staffordshire to see the team at Make Some Noise (MSN) in action.

MSN deliver music making sessions for young people across Staffordshire.  Since 2001 over 15,000 children & young people have accessed their music opportunities. I have worked with them for just over a year so while I know a lot about what they do, I had never seen them in action!

The event was a fun day for Young Carers from the South Staffordshire Carers Association and was attended by over 80 children and young people.

MSN attended the event with a small group of their young volunteers who co-lead the workshops which allowed young people to have a go on guitars, drums, i-Pads, Keyboards and vocals. In each 20 minute session the groups put together a song which played out across the grounds and drew in groups of others keen to have a go!

What really surprised me about the session was how quickly children and young people warmed to the task, and even the shyest were able to join in and feel part of the group. The effects of this on their confidence was evident almost instantly. In the act of getting lost in the music the young carers were able to relax, have fun and forget their worries. They quickly came together as a team and worked out roles and supported each other. I was very aware of how amplified this effect could be over a longer period of time and with regular engagement with MSN. The young volunteers are people who have already been involved with MSN and who want to help others, often they are on the pathway to achieving Arts Awards and becoming a Music Leader.

Organisations like MSN are rare, they offer music as a hook to engage young people and from this are able to offer support, confidence building and learning opportunities – they have delivered successful projects in PRU’s, CAMHS units, Special Needs schools and with vulnerable and disengaged children, young people and their families across Staffordshire.

What struck me as I came away from the session was the effect that seeing the group in action had on my understanding of the difference MSN makes and the frustration that for many funders written applications are the only means of communication. I look forward to the day when funders recognise that for some charities, media is the best way to get to know the organisation, the work that they do and the difference they make.