Musical Freedoms is our new Youth Music funded programme of workshops for young people in Youth Justice settings, starting in September 2020. The programme includes building upon our successes working with very vulnerable young people in two secure settings in the Yorkshire region, and with young mums (and their babies), who also find themselves in Yorkshire-based secure accommodation.

Our work in these settings contributes significantly to a participant’s rehabilitation and encourages them to live secure, meaningful and socially responsible lives, all through the medium of music.

We encourage the young people (and young mums) across our secure settings projects to either make their own music, or sing or play existing (simple) songs with their own (very young) children. We engage all the participants involved with a range of musical genres and styles, along with an introduction and support to use music technology, where possible.

All the young people we work with in this type of situation are at risk of displaying challenging behaviour and may have difficulty in forming social relationships. The musicians running Musical Freedoms for YY&M are trained and abide by all existing procedures, put in place to protect both staff and the young people themselves.

Even though our participants have had their freedoms restricted, the Musical Freedoms project offers a chance to express their own voice through music-making, allowing incredibly important opportunities for recognition of their behaviour (what has led them to where they are now) and growth towards reintegration into society (and in the case of our young mums, connecting with their own babies in healthier ways, affecting the lives of these children positively as they grow up with their mums).

We get remarkable results, sometimes including the production of original tracks that express regret for past actions (an apology to mum, for example). We have released hidden talent in the form of: lyric writing, performing, learning to play the guitar and sometimes just a renewed interest in music in general.

Ultimately, this gives the young people involved an emotional and mental freedom that can help them to potentially unlock their physical freedom in the future. What could be more liberating and uplifting than giving young people another chance at true freedom?