by Rachel [aka Bradders] - Youth Support Worker at Cre8 Music
I have no musical ability, so was especially excited to get involved with the music project! I’m a youth support worker at the Cre8 Music project on the Moss (I have many roles at Cre8 – this is just one of them!). I look after the tea & toast, sit and chat while young people wait for lessons, and more recently I’ve become a ‘project’ for the young people to teach music to!
My lack of musical ability became apparent to the young people quite quickly and so they took it upon themselves to sort me out with some music lessons – taught by them! It began with singing and we are currently practising Jessie J's ‘Flashlight’ and Leonard Cohen's ‘Hallelujah’; a fine combination! This is accompanied by piano and most recently, ukulele... Simon Cowell eat your hat! As well as fuelling my one man band daydreams, I find it a cool way of building the young people’s confidence in their own ability and focus' them to practice (albeit while laughing at my raw talent). Plus, there’s plenty of evidence to show it helps them learn – have a look at the article here >>. It's also really encouraging to see young people teaching each other young people, as everyone seems to join in with ‘teaching Rachel’ time.
I see that music has this quality to calm an anxious young person. I hear it in the lyrics they choose to sing, the story they wish to tell. In the tea & toast moments (always a popular time at the music project) the young people describe their creative aspirations for the future while chatting over a brew. I love to hear this.
The music project provides such a positive learning environment. I listen in awe while the highly talented music tutors and young people jam together; spontaneous creativity spills out of the group. I can't help but feel energised, feel included and want to have a go. I’m sure this energy is why the kids stick around too. I've seen these young people grow from no musical background to being musically (and socially) confident and competent. The Youth Music Concert’s that Cre8 holds during the year are evidence of this - blows me away every time!
Last week we started the next phase of our Music Project - delivery of the Rockschool Award to a group of 6 young people who have been involved in our music project for the last few years. This level 2 award is a big deal for us - to be able to acredit what we do here at the music project and support young people to gain a qualification for their musical talents!
To start with the group will be focusing on core units one of which is working towards a performance; they'll be organising, running and performing their own concert!
The very first session last week involved 'me boards': reflecting on their own musical style, influences and background...
Exciting times 🎤🎸🎹🎧🎵 #youthmusic #cre8music
In 2011 Cre8 started a music project with funding from Youth Music. Since then it's gone from strength to strength and now represents a key part of our provision, engaging over 60 young people in music-making activities on an annual basis, with a core group of around 30 participants who attend 3 times a week. Many of these young people have been involved for years, developing from complete beginners into multi-instrumental musicians and going on to excel in their music GCSEs and study music at college.
But why do they keep coming back? Is it the music? Ask them, and they'll probably say it's the toast.
As a youth worker based in a community long-term, I'm always interested in what it takes to engage young people in activities that develop tangible skills and make a visible impact on their lives on a long-term basis. As a musician, I understand the impact that music-making can have on an individual. It can be defining; more than just a hobby, it can shape personalities and futures. So naturally when the opportunity arose to combine the two it was a welcome challenge.
Back to the toast.
One of the more interesting parts of my training as a youth work was the theory of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (look it up here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs). The theory suggests that for individuals to experience growth in areas of self-esteem, confidence, achievement and respect of others their basic physiological needs, sense of safety and need for positive social relationships has to be met. To put it plainly: if you want hard-to-reach kids to learn to play music and respect other, give them sofas, support, tea and toast.
Now that's not to say there aren't difficulties that come along with this. Sometimes it's difficult to define whether a young person spent more time learning how to play 'Smoke on the Water' or standing in the queue waiting for a brew. Or when I've forgotten to pick up the chocolate spread and have to spare a member of staff for 10 minutes to go to the shop to avoid all out mutiny. But it works, and the numbers prove it. More importantly, we can see it working. Now that we've been going for 5 years, we can see lives changing. I watch kids who once struggled to sing above a whisper stand up on a stage in front of 100+ people, including families and peers (which is often worse) and smash out their rendition of 'Read All About It Part II'. I have seen kids who have literally beat themselves up when they place a finger wrong on the fretboard, who have learnt patience and perseverance and can deliver the solo from 'I Believe in a Thing Called Love'. And every time they do it, their lives change a little for the better.
It might seem simple. It might seem like an unnecessary distraction. But if there's one thing I would share with people who are struggling to reach the kids who need it the most, it would be: "firstly, give them tea and toast".
Post to the Youth Music Network, September 2016, by Tom Wardle
We're giving massive thanks to Comic Relief today who are funding some of the renovation work in the Wildlife area behind the Cre8 Building.
Watching Jo Brand on TV yesterday, doing her walk for Sport Relief reminded us to say again how grateful we are to those people who raise money for what we're trying to do here, and for young people and families in Macclesfield.
Hopefully we will have the Wildlife area more available to local people in the future, with a new pond dipping platform, circular pathway, bird feeders, ducks and lots more wildlife to see !
Ashley and Jason found a poorly squirrel today, so we rescued it and put it safely in the empty duck hut. Checking on the squirrel tomorrow.
After 4 years of gradual renovations at The Building we are delighted to finally announce that we are connected to the electricity grid! We have been getting by with a second-hand diesel generator for the last 2 and a half years - and have run Lunch Clubs, Community Events, Holiday activities, Youth Clubs, and of course the successful Music Project and Bike Project are based here - but it's all been rather difficult running off a generator with the 30 year old wiring system in place.
Electricity North West flipped the switch on 15th June and we now have a stable and reliable electricity connection, and seven modern electric heaters to supplement the cosy wood burning stoves over the winter. Just in time for the Festival!
The Music Studio can now run without the distant rattle of the generator, and we don't have to make emergency trips out to get diesel fuel, or to flip switches on the generator when it breaks down! Hallelujah...!
We are incredibly grateful to a particular individual who donated a significant sum of money for this particular project - without which we would not even have been able to consider the project.
Rob and the RD team took a hand in the digging and prep work for the cable trench.
All in all, we are very pleased to be in the modern electrical era at the Building - thanks to all involved!
Civic and business leaders from across Cheshire attended the launch of “Transforming Lives Together” (TLT) on 20th September.
Senior figures, including the Bishop of Chester, the Archdeacon of Macclesfield, the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire and David Rutley MP, were present at the “Cre8” project in Macclesfield to support the start of a new venture seeking to alleviate poverty across the county.
TLT is a joint initiative between the Diocese of Chester and the Church Urban Fund, and aims to tackle poverty across Cheshire by building relationships between communities and voluntary groups, especially churches. Representatives from a number of charities and community groups attended the event which was hosted by Cre8, a Macclesfield-based charity that provides projects and activities for young people and their families. Their work is aimed towards empowering young people and adults in the local area to make change happen for themselves and also for their local neighbourhood.
David Rutley, MP for Macclesfield, said: “Transforming Lives Together works to improve the lives of those who live in some of our most disadvantaged areas. I am really pleased that they are now supporting Cre8 in their important work in the Moss Rose Estate. This pioneering work is improving young people’s life chances and helping them tackle any challenges that they face. With Transforming Lives Together’s added support, I hope that this work will go from strength to strength.”
Rev. Jenny Mayo-Lythall, TLT Development Worker, was delighted by the event’s success: “I was really pleased that people were able to attend the launch and kickstart this exciting new venture. With the support of so many civic groups, community agencies and charities, we can start to make a real difference to people whose lives are affected by poverty.”
You can find out more about the work of TLT on their website -www.transforminglivestogether.org.uk or by contacting Jenny on 01928 718834
Photos courtesy of Folio Photography, Stockport.
TLT's launch at Cre8 was immense, and it was amazing to see so much support for the venture, as well as celebrate the awesome work of Cre8. More to follow, but for now here's a taster with the Bishop of Chester, the Lord Lieutenant, David Rutley MP, and Paul Hackwood. Church Urban Fund: Tackling Poverty Together
Paul T - one of our very dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic supporters, is as we speak, trekking across the country to raise the cash to complete the rennovations of the 'new' bikeshed! Trussy Trek 2014 from Lindisfarne to Iona has raised over a thousand pounds so far as well as Cre8's profile in the wider Macclesfield area and beyond!
Renovation work at the Building in the 'new' BikeShed area has begun whilst Paul has been walking. The old damp, crumbling walls have been removed and the new walls are being constructed. Not that exciting you might think. But actually it is. For lots of reasons...
In these photos it might just look like a bit of plasterboard has been put up, but it's more than that; its the start of something. Once the plasterboard is up, the walls will be skimmed then painted. OK fair enough, that's usually what happens. However, being Cre8, the key to all this, is that all the work - from ripping out the old stuff to putting the boarding on, plastering the walls and then painting - is being done by young people and young adults who are part of Cre8 and their local community . . .
That is what makes Cre8 a unique, exciting and ground-breaking place. It draws people in. Yes we needed a bike workshop creating, but actually the creation of that is becoming a fantastic project in itself. Sometimes at Cre8 we forget that what we are doing, involving people from all aspects of the 'wider' community, is ground-breaking stuff. It isn't the 'normal' way of working. It can be a really difficult thing and can end up taking a lot of time and a lot of energy, and have many unlikely stumbling blocks, but it's an incredible way to get something done. And it means that everything we do has roots and foundations spreading all over this community. And that's why we're here and why we'll be here for a long time.
And then there's the end product - a beautiful new, purpose-made Bike Shed for our Bike repair project that is so popular with young people - especially the really young ones! Hanging on the walls will be the tools and equipment that will help to teach young people how to rennovate and repair their bikes.
Bike Shed is about passing on these skills as well as having a laugh, sharing a brew and a biscuit and being a place where young people can spend a bit of time learning how to 'be' with one another.
The partially constructed walls in the shed end might not seem very exciting at first glance - but when you think about what's involved and what will be happening in that space, then it quickly becomes a tingly feeling that makes a big grin spread across your face because you're part of something very special and exciting.
If you'd like to be a part of Cre8 - find out how by clicking here
Before pictures - pretty grim
Up at The Building on Mayfield Terrace, the renovation of three former toilets (if thats what you could call them!) has finally been completed.
The rooms will become offices and practice rooms for the Music Project which is based at the Building; drop-ins and lessons happen in the afternoons during the week.
The rooms initially had no floors - well they did but they were completely rotten and very easy to fall through! The walls and ceiling were damp and crumbling and there was no heat or light. The place was very smelly, dirty and just generally not fit for anyone or anything - it was known as the 'condemned end' of the Building.
Thanks to an amazing, dedicated and hard-working team they have been transformed. The majority of the work has been done by young people and young adults on the RD project - learning new skills and having fun while working hard! Big thank you to:
The saturday RD team of Jamie, Nathan, Bartosz, Jason for ripping out all the old stuff; Chris and Stefan for their building work; John F for all the plastering in the cold; Gareth for all his hard work (bodging) in the cold; John P for all the painting - also in the cold; the monday evening RD team of Shannon, Jamie and Liv for laying the floors; and Rob for electrics and generally everything too skillful for anyone else (mmm!)
The rooms are great and we're really looking forward to using them with young people - giving us more space to practice music and enable more people to be involved.
After pictures - light, bright and clean
Leila is great at supporting other young people who may lack a bit of confidence. She encourages and supports, and her confidence is a good example to other young people.
Leila will be performing at the upcoming Music Concert (14th December) along with other young people from the music project.
The Cre8 music project was set up through funding we received from Youth Music.
Our upcoming events calendar shows all the forthcoming events at Cre8 and our partners. Click here to view the full list of upcoming events.