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Circle of Light Gives Young People Chance to Work With Music Biz Pros

2 July 19 words: Eileen Pegg

The charity project helps 18-25 year olds explore mental health by getting creative and there’s not long left to sign up. Here’s why you shouldn’t ‘ang abaht...

Circle of Light project co-ordinator Tricia Gardiner (centre) with Nottingham musicians and creatives at Metronome, where the workshops are based. L-R: Will Robinson (I’m Not From London), Stacey McMullen, Nina Smith, Adeel Hannan, Chris Preece and Ian Gardiner.

Circle of Light has launched as a creative music project for young people across Nottinghamshire, giving them the chance to create an album with industry professionals to explore mental health issues and give a voice to those who may be suffering in silence.

Funded by Youth Music and the National Lottery Community Fund, 18-25 year olds who live in Notts City and County are invited to join the free-to-attend workshops at Metronome from 15 July - 2 August. Those taking part will record an album which will be released through the I’m Not From London Label. There’ll be a limited edition dubplate cut by the folks at Plates Records to get yer mitts on, with a live performance at Metronome on 10 October planned to launch the record, to coincide with World Mental Health Day. But that’s not all…

Alongside attracting budding singers, songwriters, producers, rappers and poets, the project offers a chance for applicants of any ability to try their hand at a number of creative practices that are involved in creating an album, from start to finish. Whether you’ve always wanted to try promoting, fancy scribbling some album artwork, want to learn how to mix and master tracks or would love to see yourself in a music video (in front of or behind the camera), the varied series of workshops aims to address all disciplines and creative expression.

Don’t just take our word for it - Internationally acclaimed and Nottingham born rapper Scorzayzee, who has been open about his own battles with drug addiction and schizophrenia, is on board as the lead mentor.

Scorzayzee explains: “Having firsthand experience with mental illness, I found that openly talking about it within my music has given me the chance to connect with others experiencing their own struggles. When I make music and write, I feel it’s the only place I can truly get a bit crazy. I can express my humour, my story and my feelings all without feeling vulnerable to the judgment of others.

“Getting people into one place and expressing thoughts creatively can make a real difference even if they just contribute by being in the same room. I really think human beings are very complex but in the end we all just want to feel good and feel happy. I hope by sharing my journey, I can help others who are just learning to express themselves.”

Scorzayzee

The list of other Nottingham-based music and creative names who are also involved and running the workshops is impressive, including Stacey McMullen, Molly-May Gardiner, Nic Harvey (Sheep Soup), James Waring (The Invisible Orchestra), Rob Green, Nina Smith, Charlie Bone, Annasofie Moxon, Trekkah and AJA.

Project lead Tricia Gardiner tells us more: “We ran a short pilot last year and had some fantastic outcomes with young people finding the space and courage to come forward with some difficult issues around their own mental health and to share things they had never spoken about before.

“The workshops will be delivered by musicians and artists who have achieved success in their field of work and have firsthand experience of trauma and mental health and can provide inspiration to these young people to help them express their inner thoughts and feelings as a way to deal with emotional issues, mental stress, anxiety and to gain control to aid recovery.”

The project says that the volume of young people struggling with mental health issues is overwhelming, with 75 percent of mental illness starting before a child reaches their 18th birthday. According to the Nottinghamshire Mental Health Framework, Nottingham also scores poorly on socio-economic indicators with almost 35 percent of city children living in poverty, which has been shown to put them at greater risk of developing mental health problems.

Circle of Light workshops start at Metronome on 15 July, and applications are now open for men and women aged 18-25, who live in Nottingham City or County.

Sign up on the website | Circle of Light Facebook

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