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  • Successful-Music-Hub-Bid-For-Dorset-And-Somerset-To-Deliver-Music-Education-Across-The-Region

Successful Music Hub bid for Dorset and Somerset to deliver music education across the region

posted 07 May 2024
Successful Music Hub bid for Dorset and Somerset to deliver music education across the region

The next generation of budding musicians in Dorset and Somerset have been given a boost after a joint bid to become a Music Hub Lead Organisation by Somerset Council and Dorset Council was successful.

The Octagon Theatre has been appointed by Arts Council England to lead the Music Hub for Dorset and Somerset from September 2024, as part of an ambitious national programme to provide high-quality music education for all children and young people.

The newly combined Music Hub for Dorset and Somerset will operate through Somerset Council’s Octagon Theatre and will be one of 44 Hub Lead Organisations nationally, replacing 117 currently. This collaboration will draw in the expertise of partners and stakeholders from across the existing music education hub communities in each area so even more young people can access musical and creative learning opportunities.

Becoming a Hub Lead Organisation will secure approximately £1.46 million of funding from the Department for Education. The Octagon’s National Portfolio operation will receive just under £1.1 million of revenue grant to coordinate music education in the local area, plus around £360,000 to invest in new musical instruments, equipment and technology tailored to the needs of children and young people in Dorset and Somerset, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Octagon Theatre will deliver high quality music education accessible to all children and young people across Dorset and Somerset through diverse partnerships between educational, creative and community organisations, in their local communities and throughout the country.

The Theatre’s appointment is part of a major investment in a new generation of the nationwide network of Music Hubs. This investment will help to deliver the Government’s National Plan for Music Education, and give all children and young people the opportunity to develop their musical interests as far as they wish, including helping them to begin careers in the music industry.

Councillor Heather Shearer, Lead Member for Children & Families in Somerset, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for children and young people across our two county areas. To see this investment that will secure excellent music provision is a joy. It is also a testament to the officers who have worked so hard to build a strong partnership that will deliver first rate music education for our children.”

Amanda Davis, Corporate Director for Education and Learning for Dorset Council, said: “In Dorset we understand well the power of music education in harnessing the creativity and talents of all our children and young people. We know it can enhance wellbeing as well as academic and social skills. Music education can be a catalyst for personal and professional potential and growth and frequently brings joy into learning, regardless of the starting point of the student. As such, we are thrilled to be part of this dynamic new venture, bringing like-minded and aspirational people together to create wonderful opportunities for our children.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: "Music education is enormously powerful – it can enrich young people's lives, help them connect with the people around them, and start them on the pathway to fruitful and fulfilling careers.  We are excited to announce this investment in a new generation of Music Hubs, which will support the brilliant work of our dedicated music teachers across the country, and help bring high-quality music education to even more children and young people in every part of England."

Phil Gibby, South West Area Director, Arts Council England, adds: “We’re thrilled to award over £9.4 million from the Department for Education to seven new Music Hubs across the South West. Each Hub Lead Organisation is set to enable high-quality musical activities to thousands of children and young people in the region, so that everyone everywhere can pick up an instrument and express themselves.  A further £3 million will boost access to industry-spec technology and equipment, helping to raise ambitions and remove barriers to the artform. We can’t wait to see a new generation of talent sing, compose and play their way to a more inclusive future. Thanks to public funding and the work of talented teachers and practitioners, that vision is possible.”

The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil, through which the Music Hub will operate, is set for redevelopment in the future after the Department for Culture, Media and Sport provided its support for the development project and Yeovil Town Council agreed in principle funding. The development will see a full refurbishment and improvements to accessibility, environmental sustainability, audience experience, technical capability and backstage areas. The venue was also awarded National Portfolio Organisation status from ACE in 2023 which sees an investment of £760,000 to support arts and cultural activities in the area over the next three years.

Adam Burgan, Arts & Entertainment Venues Manager at Somerset Council, said: "We have been working with the current Music Hub Leads in Dorset and Somerset to develop our bid which was submitted in October 2023. Live music brings our venues and services to life everyday, so we are excited and delighted to lead this collaborative bid and the announcement today is fantastic news that builds on our passion for music and the creative arts to inspire, educate and transform people’s lives.”

You can find out more information about Music Education Hubs on the Arts Council England website, including a link to the National Plan for Music Education.


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