Support Through Music
Youth Music helps young people in difficult situations to get the most out of music and life
October 25th, 2016
Youth Music is a national charity which funds hundreds of music-making projects of every style and genre each year. The charity helps children and young people in tough circumstances who wouldn't otherwise get the chance to make music.
Young people facing difficulties in their lives are often the ones who get the most out of music-making. For example, children with disabilities, young carers, kids struggling with drugs, alcohol or their mental wellbeing, and young people excluded from school and society often miss out, and greatly benefit from the exposure.
Youth Music projects help young people to develop musically, but there are huge personal and social benefits too. Writing lyrics can enable a bereaved teenager to express their grief. Communities divided by prejudice or gangs can be brought together to perform. Making hip-hop beats can help a child understand maths in a way they never grasped at school.
To date, players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised an incredible £550,000 to support Youth Music.
Players of People's Postcode Lottery have helped to support young people like Lydia. Lydia is five years old and has a rare brain disorder that means she can't walk or talk. She's had to spend a lot of her life so far in Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.
The Songbirds Project, supported by Youth Music, has helped Lydia learn to communicate with her family. Each week, Songbirds musicians Ros and Mark visit the ward to work with Lydia and other children like her who are long-term patients.
Ros explained how Lydia can now communicate by responding to music, "Lydia picks up on patterns in the music. She shows us, by her facial expression, what sounds she does and doesn't enjoy."
Music also improves the quality of life in hospital by helping children like Lydia to relax, and it's been shown to help ease pain. "The hospital environment is very noisy," Ros continued. "Children who can't see or hear well have no idea where this sound is coming from. Music can be there to say, 'It's okay'."
Lydia's diagnosis was especially hard for her parents as they lost a daughter Naomi, who also had the genetic condition, at 18 months.
Lydia's mum Ruth said, "There's nothing worse than being stuck in a hospital, day in, day out. Songbirds has had a huge impact on our family. It helps us to connect with Lydia. The mood changes when they arrive, and I know they have had a big impact on other families too."
"Lydia loves life and music is a big part of that. I don't know how long we've got her for but at least when her time comes, we can say we gave her the best possible life."