BRIT Trust Spotlight: The Avenues Youth Project

24November, 2020

Back in 2018, Azi Eftekhari, Co-Founder of Remedy Inc and formerly YouTube Music brought the Trusts’ attention to a local youth club project, The Avenues, near to where she lives in the Queens Park, W10 area. Coincidentally the Trust had last donated funds to the Avenues back in 1999 so receiving the proposal was welcomed and timely. The Trust made a donation and the update below gives an insight as to the worthy work carried out by The Avenues team.

The BRIT Trust funded a project that enabled us to deliver an exceptional opportunity for a small number of the most committed young people wanting to further their skills and experience in the music sector.

This structured project allowed a selected number of young people to shadow youth workers, be mentored by industry professionals and experience different areas of the music industry. The curriculum was designed so that all young people would get a chance to learn about radio, DJing and sound engineering. They could produce their own tracks, write a radio script, create a DJ set all whilst helping others do the same too. They learnt, taught, and volunteered their time all at the same time.

For this short report, we’d like to focus on Josiah. Josiah is 16 and lives in the local community on the Harrow Road. Josiah has been attending Avenues for some time now and has always had a passion for music. It is only now with this funding, partnered with his commitment could he discover the path he wanted to be on. Josiah shone throughout this experience and his commitment to the programme was apparent from day one. Rather than tell you what we think we achieved, we spoke to Josiah himself and he told us how he found the programme, what he learnt & what his goals are:

Youth worker: Can you describe some parts of the programme?

Josiah: Well my first placement was in the radio room with Nicole. It taught me what it takes to plan a session, how to deliver a session to the public, how long it might take to plan a script for a show – things like that.  Then I worked in the studio with Del where I learnt about the key software packages I needed for editing and creating my own music. Things like the effects that I’d need to make a certain sound or, tracking vocal structure, and generally how to master a song. It really helped me and now I can help others learn that too. I can teach them.

Youth worker:  Awesome, can you describe how the programme was for you?

Josiah:  It was so good. I got to learn a lot of things about the music industry and what it may take to make it. It was a really good experience to have because before I never knew what I wanted to do with my life really. But now at least I know what it takes to be a radio presenter and a sound engineer and a producer. I’ve started to further my education on these things and my knowledge has expanded. I want to pursue a career in music production and now I feel I have the direction to do it. 

Youth worker: & how do you think Avenues helped you? Both for this project and in general?

Josiah: Avenues has helped me so much. They’ve given me the opportunity to express my musical ears and to give me opportunities to work alongside youth workers and industry professionals. The opportunities I’ve had here, I wouldn’t have had anywhere else. It gave me a chance to see what I could have as a career.

Youth worker: What are your future plans? Have they changed since this programme?

Josiah; My future plans is actually to have a production company. Or maybe a studio. I’d love to be a famous producer or DJ touring festivals and recording in my own studio. This has helped me realise what I need to do to achieve it.

We believe this programme has been transformative for Josiah. Since the programme begun, he grasped the additional responsibility with both hands and has thrown himself into many other opportunities at the club. He chose to photograph some of our fundraising activities earlier in the year, signed up to our in house level 1 qualification in youth work and also is working part time as a junior support worker. He is doing this alongside his college commitments and we believe this project sparked a significant change in Josiah, his future opportunities and crucially, his self-belief.

We are continuing to work with and mentor Josiah and are excited to see him thrive and succeed in the future. He has planned to select a music qualification to participate in next summer when he has fewer college commitments.

We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to the BRIT Trust for funding this unique opportunity. Without this funding, programmes such as this, simply would not have been possible.