Make Some Noise is embracing technology during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to maintain support for some of the most vulnerable children, young people and their families across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

While technology is nothing new to our team of professional musicians who regularly combine traditional musical instruments with some of the latest digital music software and hardware in face-to-face sessions, to continue this invaluable work in some form was important. 

Programme Development Officer John Simmonds said, “The obvious step was to create virtual services online where possible, not only as a means of maintaining routine and contact for participants, but to help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation which were heightened due to lockdown restrictions. 

Bringing sessions to a digital platform was not without its challenges, as we needed to complete stringent risk assessment and safeguarding measures and test of all the available video conferencing programmes to ensure the welfare, needs and support of individual participants, their families and carers was at the forefront of the process. “

Dan Greenwood, who joined the charity in June 2019 as Programme Assistant jumped at the chance to modify our weekly music training sessions with looked after children aged 9-14 to online delivery.   Many of these young people have experienced trauma in some form, resulting in a variety of issues including behavioural, attachment, low self-esteem, learning difficulties and social anxiety.

Dan has always been passionate about music and having overcome his own personal challenges with mental health, has experienced first-hand the power that music can bring to help with recovery and wellbeing. Like so many of our music leaders, Dan’s passion for inclusive music, skills and personal experience has enabled him to develop a good working relationship with these young people. Prior to lockdown his creative face to face sessions had shown positive results for participants in their ability to engage and develop. 

Dan says:  “A vital part of developing someone’s musicianship is being able to play something together.  Over video that isn’t always easy, having to factor in the time delay we experienced which at times has been frustrating for some of the young people.   There is however still immense value, they enjoy it and thrive despite these challenging times.

Make Some Noise was able to re-engage with children and young people within two weeks of lockdown, which is remarkable under the circumstances.  Everyone put in the extra time to make it happen. We feel privileged to work with these children, young people and their families.  They have really been through challenges and for some young people, physical face to face interaction works better, others have shown to flourish better using this new virtual way of working.”

 Other Make Some Noise projects to have benefitted from live online delivery are Upbeat Families, for pre-school children of military families, and Stoke Young parents, aimed at young parents and their pre-school children. Music Leader Chris Watt had this to say, “By delivering these online group and 1-2-1 sessions for our Young Parents project, we have been able to share the experience of isolation during lockdown with our participants, helping support their wellbeing through the pandemic.”

At Make Some Noise we continue to seek out new innovative ways of keeping music in the lives of their audiences during this time, having recently discovered a new opportunity to use digital delivery to help in the transition of one of their young participants as they relocate. Following safeguarding guidance, being able to maintain a level of continued support during this time until a new setting for service provision can be established, will help reduce anxiety and increase their confidence and learning.

Make Some Noise is grateful for the flexible & pragmatic support from the following funders, who have enabled us to pivot our programmes to ensure that many of our beneficiaries can access our support digitally during this pandemic: Arts Council England Emergency Grant, the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the National Foundation for Youth Music, BBC Children in Need, Lloyds Bank Foundation, the Sylvia Adams Foundation, Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, the Co-Op Foundation and the Music Partnership.