One Voice Blackburn engaged young people in an activity that overcomes all barriers – music making. Music has the capacity to break down barriers between different ethnic and religious groups to create a legacy of inclusion and acceptance of difference, contributing to the policing criteria of having safer, stronger and confident communities.
Blackburn with Darwen has a high proportion of people who do not mix. One Voice recognises from speaking with young people that they quite simply do not mix with young people from other backgrounds outside of school and admit to not really mixing socially during breaks at school either. According to numerous reports including the Ted Cantle Report, communities are segregated, with little or no appetite for community cohesion.
One Voice Blackburn have created a project that brought people together through music. One Voice used local connections to bring together young people from South Asian heritage, White British and refugee communities to form a musical group with a view to performing together as bands at a local level.
One Voice recruited individuals to the project and supported them to attend music sessions at McNally Music Tuition. A minimum of 20 young people have benefitted from this opportunity.
Throughout the project One Voice engaged parents of the young people. It was key for us to create community cohesion with parents as well as young people – some will have been born all around the world so bringing them together in support of their children will be another way in which communities can learn about one another.
The long term aims of the project will be for young people and adults from different communities across the borough to make long lasting friendships, developed based on a common interest. This project has placed a focus on music making as a strong and effective blueprint for community cohesion work in the borough and beyond.
The project has created a new audience which is receptive to different styles of music. The end of the project has included a recording which will be launched early in 2021.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions the band members will not be able to performt o an audience until later in the year.
Comments from participants:
“So far I’ve really enjoyed our new project for the band. We got to meet two new people and I think they are a great addition to the band. I think that we all work very well together, the music is sounding really good.” Sara Abdulsalam
“Every Friday evening I got to a band/ music lesson at MMT. It is a very interesting and fun things to do . I enjoy going every week as it a place where we can just be creative and ourselves. We are invited to put ideas forward and not be judged. Right now we are doing a project about brining people together no matter who you are. This a very important topic and I’m glad we get to express our views on a form of a song. We have worked with other people from the community as well as one voice performers and it’s been an joyful experience. In a few weeks we will be recorded our song and I’m very excited as well as nervous because this is the first time an original song I’ve helped wrote with the company of others is being professionally recorded. Singing has been a huge part of my life and I’m glad I get to carry it on.” mHafsah Khonat
“Music lessons/ band sessions have been going really well and has been so much fun lately because we have been experimenting with writing out own song which has definitely been challenging but it was a challenge worth taking. We also have met so many sweet people when doing this project like Ed and Evie . We are going to be recording our song in 3 weeks which is a great opportunity for all us . The song we have written is called united because our song is mainly based off togetherness and unity , this song gave us a chance to show the world that we are not separated by race or by gender but we’re one big generation. The band has also helped me gain a lot of confidence as I some time lack the confidence to put myself out there.” Sana Hanslod