FUNDRAISING NEWS: Youth Music gives out £800,000

ANNIE KELLY

Youth Music is to manage a fund to help England's national youth music organisation maintain and develop their activities. A total of £800,000 will be distributed to various groups that will use the money to promote their music education, training and performance programmes.

Youth Music, which funds and acts as an advocate for youth music making activity, has contributed £400,000 of its own funds on top of £300,000 from the Department of Education and Skills and £100,000 from the Arts Council of England.

Christina Coker, chief executive at Youth Music, said the fund will provide much-needed support for organisations that have seen sponsorship levels fall in recent years.

"The need for additional funding for this sector has become painfully apparent, especially for groups who perform specific functions and provide opportunities for gifted children that would otherwise not exist,

she said. "Many of these groups have been surviving hand-to-mouth, and it's good to see that we've secured some public money to underpin the valuable services that they provide."

Coker hopes to see the initial funding extended beyond the first year, and is in talks with the Department of Education and Skills to secure an additional three years of support for the project.

"We're already engaged in discussions with the department about fixing a long-term settlement and would like to see the contributions to the fund balanced,

she said.

The fund came about after Youth Music approached the Government about the lack of funding for organisations working on a narrow remit within the music sector. It has already identified 10 groups including the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the British Youth Opera that will receive initial funding, and is currently working with both the Department of Education and Skills and the Arts Council to fix eligibility standards before distributing the remaining cash.

"We need to consider the needs of the sector and see who else is on the horizon,

said Croker. "At the moment most benefiting organisations are based around Western classical and jazz music, so we'd like to widen the range of cultural diversity to accurately represent youth music in Britain."

Youth Music was founded in 1999 with a £30 million Lottery grant and became the first delegated distributor of Lottery funds.

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