Make Some Noise are funded as part of the #I Will campaign to facilitate social action work with young people across the schools of Stoke-On-Trent in a project called Rise. I have been helping to coordinate and manage this work alongside a team of professional musicians visiting primary and secondary schools across the City.

Prior to the closure of the schools we had a marvellous plan and project in progress:

At St Peter’s Academy we were working with some of the most vulnerable children in the school – in the year 7 nurture group. We were helping them to develop their creativity and personal resilience, they were learning to create music and exploring songs writing around themes of loneliness, developing positive relationships and the value of friendship. It was a genuine privilege to see them growing in confidence and working together as a team.

We had visited 7 primary schools across the City and lead sessions exploring the Year 5 and 6 children’s experience of friendship and exploring their hopes and fears around the transition to High School. All of the groups worked with us to write a song themed around these issues, some of their ideas were amazing, one of my personal favourites was the chorus of the song written by the pupils of Summerbank Primary:

Feeling Sad Heartbroken

Be bold be brave be open

Let your words be spoken

At the Coop Academy we were working with Year 7 pupils, the Year 10 BTEC Music group and the Coop Young Leaders group.  The pupils at the Coop Academy were able to fully engage in the idea of using the project to help others as a form of social action and came up with a plan to create a lasting legacy to help their peers. They created three themed storyboards and songs around isolation, personal growth and reaching out to others. We were able to commission an animation company – Magic Mountain Creative to help realise these ideas. The image at the head of the page is a still from one of the videos Magic Mountain Creative have produced as part of this project commission.

Then the schools shut – What to do? We’ve been unable to get in touch with any of the young people we were working with. I worry about how they are getting on, if they are staying in touch with their friends and their overall wellbeing. We’ve continued to work on the films and music, the animations and music have had more input they we might ever have imagined possible in normal circumstances and we hope that we are creating something that the young people will be truly proud of. We will be looking to hold an event launching the film and a discussion around young people’s loneliness when schools hopefully reopen in September.

In national loneliness week I think the lyrics created for the song ‘Start’ are resonating with me most of all:

Like a butterfly’s wings

Like a hurricane

Let your feelings unfurl

You don’t have to be the end

You could be the start

Let it go, set it free

Look how special one word can be

Say hello

Don’t be alone

Come and help each other

Start today

Don’t be afraid

Come and help each other

Murray Brailsford – Project Assistant, Make Some Noise