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Creative music projects impact on homeless people

At St Martins, we use music to give people who are – or have been – homeless a chance to be creative.

We run numerous courses and activities from our training centre ‘Under 1 Roof’ on Westwick Street to support people to become independent and reintegrate back into the community.

Two music workshops run at the centre; ‘Under 1 Riff’ and ‘JumpStart’.  Under 1 Riff focuses on building instrumental, vocal and percussive skills.  The band born out of this workshop called The Undies, perform live around Norwich and have just recorded two tracks with support from Goat Pen Studios.  Jumpstart is a workshop run in partnership with Musical Keys, another local charity, and explores a range of musical genres, from classic rock to hip hop and electronica. Both workshops are facilitated by experienced community musicians.

Over the last year 90 people have participated in the workshops. As well as working on live performances, groups wrote both lyrical and musical content, produced beats, wrote raps and made soundtracks. Tracks recorded by the groups will appear on the forthcoming album which will be released by St Martins this spring. The album will also feature tracks from local bands Little Red Kings, Matt Watson and Chris Pidgeon.

St Martins Learning and Programme Development manager Fiona Joyce said, “These groups play an important role in a person’s recovery, providing both staff and peer support to overcome challenges and become active in the local community.  Music is a great tool through which to encourage self expression, give people a voice as well as build their self esteem and confidence.’

Musical Keys Programme Manager Oliver Payne said, “There are many creative people among the homeless community, and with some support and focus we could not only make some excellent music but support them in getting through the challenges and issues they may be facing.”

A particularly positive outcome is a participant who was involved right from the beginning who became a volunteer and is now on the journey to becoming a paid workshop facilitator for Musical Keys and credits his JumpStart sessions as being the motivation for all that he has achieved in the last two years.

If any other local musicians would like to donate a track to the St Martins album contact Fiona Joyce 01603 699150.

Pictured above: The Undies

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