There are organizations the world at large seldom hears about that are working hard to engage young people with music. The Music Relief Foundation (MRF) supports young people, their families, schools, and youth initiatives. In fact, through over 1000 workshops so far, they have influenced over 5000 young people. They also actively engage in the community through music, including music sessions and lessons. They now have a vision.
MRF was founded in 2011 by Magdalene Adenaike. Inspired by Magdalene's own experiences - she endured hardship, isolation, and other challenges as a teenage parent - she decided to become involved with something which might be able to offer support to others. Discovering the transformative power of music, Magdalene wanted to inspire others, and MRF was founded. The charity has delivered various services for young people in schools and within the community. It initially provided ad-hoc music lessons as plans for the music school were formalized. MRF has collaborated with Croydon Composers, Access Music Media, The Mixtape Project, and Playlabz.CIC. Performances at Box Park Croydon, The Front Room, Crystal Palace Fans Corner, and The Palace of Westminster coincided with our knife crime launch, More Than Able (MTA).
In November 2021, MRF launched the MRF Music School, offering support targeted to young people and their families from grassroots communities. They teach all abilities, and children from schools and those home-schools can attend, with affordable lessons available from expert tutors.
Now with a team of support staff and trustees, the MRF supports Youth Ambassadors who have initiated campaigns in areas including knife crime, mental health, and raising awareness of the importance of young people in the community. The young ambassadors won the coveted Global Youth Awards in 2019 and have gone from strength to strength.
The MRF seeks to build joint governance with music as the core, incorporating its services to improve individuals' well-being through resilience, tenacity, confidence, and hope. MRF wants to see increased opportunity and connect even more with businesses, local authorities, community groups, governmental organizations, and voluntary groups and to be an access point and referral unit to create a stronger community. The aim is to provide opportunities for, as they describe it, 'unleashing the creative spirits,' a nurturing environment, and a platform for youth voices to be heard.
The power behind all this is music.
And MRF has proved a successful model. They are so successful that they struggle to fit in new classes and accommodate beginners. So, they are now looking to expand - and they have their eyes fixed on The Napier, a run-down pub with an illustrious history in the heart of Thornton Heath, which was open until 2017 but before that, it was a jazz hub for South London.
The plans are for The Napier to be re-named MRF House – and for it to become a community and music hub that will host lessons and provide a broader scope for more students, classes, new instrument lessons, and sound production—keeping in line with the historic heritage culture that the Napier provided in its earlier incarnation. MRF will ensure that the community is at the heart of it all. It will be inclusive and offer a public coffee bar so people can come, relax and enjoy the music.
Regular concerts are planned where students can have a platform to perform - something often lacking - to friends, family, and the public. There will also be a studio space, music classes for parents with children under 5, and employment opportunities for young people. Young people will have access to top professionals and be given the empowerment to develop their creative side, whether this is playing music or producing it.
There is soon to be a community meeting, and Edward Cubitt, one of the tutors, is selling a music book to help, available at the link below. There is much to do to secure expansion of this already successful initiative, but the confidence and determination of MRF is apparent.
You can find out more about this important grassroots project from the link below
MRF Website HOME - Music Relief (music-relief.org)
Link to music book be Edward CubittMusic is Easy: A Flow-state Music Learning Method (Music is Easy Core) : Cubitt, Edward: Amazon.co.uk: Books
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