Inspiring new music charity will support the disadvantaged
June 10 2015
AN inspiring new arts project aims to champion the music industry and provide employment in disadvantaged areas.
Supported by Wrexham’s Glyndŵr University and Venue Cymru in Llandudno, the Sound Champs initiative is the brainchild of producer and filmmaker Ali Carter, founder of The Laundry Studios in Colwyn Bay.
Sound Champs will be delivered by North Wales charity Action for Arts in conjunction with Diverse Arts, targeting 15-24 year olds and giving them an outlet and a platform on which to advance their careers in the music industry.
Action for Arts has already created more than 70 jobs, trained 10,000 people and raised tens of thousands of pounds for the sector, and Ali says the charity wants to be able to offer more support to emerging creative talent.
This latest addition to the portfolio is specifically for young people wanting to go into music and music industry-related employment.
Supported by politicians in Clwyd West - former Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones MP, and Darren Millar AM, Shadow Health Minister for Wales - the scheme is vital for future generations, according to Ali.
She said: “This is a flagship project for an area which has so far been unable to directly support young people, particularly those who are disadvantaged and desperate to develop their creative skills and talents outside the statutory or mainstream provision.
“We're responding to a need we have identified during our work on other projects delivered by Action for Arts, and the number of young people we are already mentoring on a voluntary basis.
“We hope people get behind this and show their support for young people who want to make their mark in what is a notoriously competitive industry.”
Mr Jones said North Wales is an increasingly recognised focus for the creative industries, and Action for Arts has the “potential to be the catalyst for a significant number of new, high quality careers” in the sector.
“I am very pleased to give my full support to the Sound Champs proposal, which will help develop the skills of young, talented, creative people in this area,” he said.
Mr Millar added: “I fully support Action for Arts and the new Sound Champs initiative.
“North Wales is a hotbed for the creative industries but there is a need for more projects like this, giving young people a platform and opportunities to build experience in the sector.
“Developing their confidence and skills is key to that, which is why the community of Colwyn Bay and the whole of Wales should get behind Ali Carter and exciting schemes like this one.”
Action for Arts geared-up for a fundraising drive over the summer with a ‘Songerama’ family fun day in Llandudno recently, featuring award-winning vocalist, actor and composer Cleveland Watkiss.
Ali said she is excited by the level of support being offered to the new Sound Champs project from very high profile international artists and music business specialists, who are being recruited as mentors and advisors.
“I already donate a considerable amount of volunteer time to mentor young people, so it will be great to finally have a project led by industry professionals that will link directly with the young talent we really want to support” said Ali, a producer on the Mike Peters biopic, Vinyl, which starred Keith Allen and Phil Daniels.
“It is a very difficult industry to break into and harder to be successful in over a long period. It’s time consuming and requires total dedication, but ultimately rewarding when you see a finished piece of work or a young talent go on to fulfil their potential.
“Action for Arts and their creative volunteering project V Creation is all about giving youngsters a chance, and we’re encouraging people to get behind our creative initiatives so the next generation of North Wales artists link with the best opportunities.”
Ali - whose son Dani Washington is making a name for himself as the drummer with internationally acclaimed pop punk combo Neck Deep – has signed up as a Sound Champs mentor and fully backs his Mum’s project. Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and trombonist Ashley Slater (pictured above) has also signed-up as a mentor.