Birchfield Big Local Youth Team collaborated this February Half-term from the 22nd – 25th with Handsworth Association of Schools, From The Roots CIC, English Heritage, Shout Out Loud, and funded by Heritage fund.

The four-day programme explored the rich history and culture of Handsworth-Birchfield, with the group learning about local sites of importance and the various music that has come from the areas. The group had a varied programme, with expert music workshops including African Drumming, Bhangra Dhol drumming, developing compositions and using various instruments to create their own music that celebrated the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games. These workshops highlighted the power of music, inspiring their personal ambitions for their communities along with a workshop with esteemed photographer Vanley Burke.

The group ranged from 8 to 16 years old. All the young people shared their favourite music genres and had the opportunity to visit the Birmingham Conservatoire to watch a live performance as well as visiting St Mary’s Church, Handsworth Park, and having a day out with Handsworth Play team. The group created some great songs within a few days and then held a mini performance on the Friday. Everyone that listened to the variety of styles created by the group were very impressed. 

The week was well attended with 18 to 22 young people participating and mixing well; they worked within groups to cross-share learning and to support those who weren’t as confident in singing, writing and performing. Birchfield Big Local Youth Group creates a safe space for young individuals to build confidence within themselves and social skills as well as boosting their creativity through interactive group activities. Evaluation and feedback from parents and the youth group has been very positive and we are always welcoming new young individuals.

Russell Green Youth worker said “the quality of music created and performed by the group within 4 days was fantastic with the group displaying the talent, creativity that exists within the wider area. Birchfield Big Local hope that the legacy of the coming 2022 Commonwealth games will present future opportunities for young people within the areas to further their lifelong learning” A big thank you to all the organisations and staff that made this half term possible.

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