We’re running a pilot, music-based project with brilliant facilitator, Jess Armstrong (supported by Jason) and the equally brilliant Kirklees Youth Justice team. A member of the Kirklees staff had this to say about the latest session, which is incredibly encouraging for a new project:

Z had told staff she didn’t want to come, as she had a bad day and wasn’t feeling too good, but she did come, and she said she was glad she did. She said she loves Jess and what they do while she’s here. This week, Z actually sang on the mic and then following some confidence building work with Jess really lost the nerves and came into her own. She left the session feeling much more positive and can’t wait for next week. Z shared some of her personal background with Jess, and also shared that she does not like been asked over and over about past traumas as it means she has to keep re-living it. Me and Jess have both agreed that potentially Z’s work with Jess may benefit from rolling over into the next cohort of 6 weeks as she is massively benefiting from this. Staff at the home agree. Z’s comment on the post it note afterwards were ‘love it, wouldn’t change a thing’.

On the post it notes afterwards, they [the participants] said it [their session] was ‘amazing’.

D unfortunately didn’t get his full 40 mins this week as he was a little late. He appears to have formed a good relationship with Jason, so Jason is quite active during his session. His comments when leaving were ‘make sure I get here on time next week’. He arrived the first week a little standoffish, and already on week two, he is arriving more relaxed and ready to get stuck in with Jason and Jess.

The final group session… Firstly the taxi driver who dropped them complimented what a great group of lads they were, which I shared with them. During the session with Jess, they took it in turns to create the beat they will use for the track they are creating; they said they like this but prefer the mixing and DJing. On the post it notes afterwards, they said it was ‘amazing’. After they had finished the session, they asked if they could stay to have a game of pool, which is positive, and during this time talked about what they want to do in the future, shared ideas of what trade they would like to get into.

Jess Armstrong with one of the participants in a music making session

The young people involved seemed to warm to Jess and Jason very quickly, which again is encouraging, and both participants and staff can clearly see (and feel) the benefits of taking part in music-based activity. We also love to hear from our project partners as much as we welcome feedback from our participants, as it gives us a more solid framework (and more grounded and well-rounded feedback) to develop the project long term.