Free music production and recording sessions, fully funded youth theatre places and gymnastics equipment for young people with physical, emotional or sensory impairments are just a few of the projects young people are set to benefit from as the winning projects were unveiled for Renfrewshire’s Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund 2020.
One of the only funds of its kind still operating in Scotland during the Coronavirus pandemic, it saw an incredible 86 projects imagined, designed and submitted by young people or community groups who work with 12-25-year olds.
More than 1,700 young people then cast 5,163 votes for their favourite projects as they took the lead role in the youth participatory budgeting fund at every stage in the process.
A fantastic £124,437 was awarded to 68 projects and these ideas will now be brought to life as opportunities and support for young people in Renfrewshire continue to grow.
Loud N Proud secured £6,000 to build on their 2019 project which saw young people given an introduction to song writing, and this year’s funding will now enable young musicians to record their tracks in a professional studio.
Tommy McGrory, Loud n Proud Manager, said: “We are very excited as this grant will mean that local young musicians will be able to get their songs recorded and produced to a professional level at the new Loud n Proud studios in Paisley.
“For young aspiring musicians getting their songs recorded is difficult due to the costs involved, so this will be a big stepping stone for them and they will get to work with a music producer who has 15 years’ experience working with young bands.
“Young musicians will learn how to mix and record with the support and training of a professional music producer and will take a piece of music from an idea to a finished product. This is a great opportunity to get free advice and use high-quality professional equipment to gain the key skills in music recording and production.”
Pace Youth Theatre were also successful with their application and received £4,000 as they look to provide free bursary places for local young people aged 3-21 whose financial circumstances, due to the impact of COVID-19 or otherwise, mean that they are unable to participate.
This will ensure all young people are able to see the benefits of youth theatre participation, which include improved confidence, mental wellbeing, communication skills, creative thinking and enhanced employment prospects.
Jenni Mason, Artistic Director of PACE, said: “This is a real boost in enabling us to widen access to our work. The Celebrating Renfrewshire funds will go directly to assisting young people, allowing us to expand our Bursary Scheme and support more young people than has previously been possible.
“PACE focuses on developing and nurturing young creative talent, and creating opportunities for them to benefit educationally, socially and culturally from a varied programme of high-quality performing arts experiences. It’s really important to us that financial circumstances shouldn’t be a barrier to getting involved with these opportunities, and the Bursary Scheme is one of the ways in which we aim to achieve this.”
Another success story was Twist & Hit Cheerleaders, as they secured £1,685.82 to provide CHEER classes to disability groups in Renfrewshire.
Founder, Director & Head Coach Sarah McNeill, said: “The funds will be used to purchase new equipment that will support under 5s and those with physical, emotional and sensory impairments.
“We are the first cheerleading programme in Scotland to be offering CHEER classes to disability groups and this equipment will help us to facilitate the classes.
“This will change their lives as it gives them access to equipment and coaching that is not available anywhere else in Scotland.”
The announcement event was held online this year due to the current pandemic and more than 50 people attended as Renfrewshire Youth Voice (RYV) members unveiled the winners for each Local Partnership area.
Adrian McKechnie, Chair of Renfrewshire Youth Voice, said: “With the way 2020 has unfolded the Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund has been a much-needed source of hope and optimism for a number of young people.
“When we look back on this year, many of the Celebrating Renfrewshire applicants, such as community groups, charities and other third sector organisations, should do so with a great sense of pride knowing that when their communities needed them the most they stepped up to the mark.
“Over the past two years, the Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund has been a significant step forward in terms of empowering young people to make decisions that have and will continue to influence the community around them.
“I sincerely hope the successes of applicants from last year coupled with those of this year will serve as a legacy to inspire other young people to effect change in their community.”
The fund was facilitated by Renfrewshire Council’s Community Planning and Youth Services teams as they engaged with and supported young people to apply, as well as assisting RYV to run the announcement event online.
Councillor Michelle Campbell, Renfrewshire Council’s Young Persons Champion, opened the event and said: “What a fantastic event as young people from across Renfrewshire got the chance to receive funding which will make a real difference to the way they live their lives in Renfrewshire.
“I’m continually amazed by the new and exciting ideas that our young people bring forward and the ability they have to turn them into reality, so I look forward to seeing all the winning projects come to fruition.
Photo: Councillor Michelle Campbell
“It’s important that those who weren’t successful this time though aren’t disheartened, and I would encourage them to get in touch with our teams at the council who will support them to find alternative ways to bring their ideas to life.”
All unsuccessful projects can contact Engage Renfrewshire via email@example.com for support to apply for other funding opportunities.
The fund was supported by Young Scot throughout, including the voting process taking place through their online system, and they were quick to praise the efforts of Renfrewshire Council to support young people.
Gavin Crosby, Young Scot Local Partnership Development Manager, said: “Young Scot was thrilled to work in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Youth Voice on the Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund.
“Together, we successfully used our Young Scot online participatory budgeting system and the young.scot/renfrewshire pages to support local young people to have their voices heard.
“Renfrewshire’s approach, particularly during restrictions, is inspiring – and Young Scot looks forward to supporting exciting projects such as this in the future.”