Music making and community wellbeing - Bromley, Bexley and Lewisham

The ArtsTrain programme supports thousands of children and young people with communities across the London Boroughs of Bromley, Bexley and Lewisham, targeting those who are not engaged in arts and culture and face challenging circumstances. This case study forms part of the Value of culture - young people section of our online Culture Hub.

Following a project visit, Youth Music’s Programme Manager Carol Reid said “Visiting the project was great, we’ve been doing some work on developing a Youth Music quality framework and I cross referenced the visit against this. There are 20 indicators on there and I was able to tick off every one.”

Lessons learned

Present and analyse data carefully

We invest time in pulling our data together, being clear on the difference between our activities and our impact and clearly articulating our value. The data is only part of the picture, we provide a narrative, including how we respond to the findings.

Manage the opportunities and risks of partnerships

Partnerships are at the heart of our work but working in partnerships is not always easy. Many of our partnerships take a lot of time and effort, so choosing the right partners and negotiating terms can be critical. Carefully weigh up the opportunities and risks of each partnership, be clear when negotiating terms and make sure you are transparent on areas such as budgets, responsibility and risk.Don’t get trapped in the ‘activity cycle’, allow time to reflect

Don’t get trapped in the ‘activity cycle’, allow time to reflect

We build time into each project to ‘think outside the box’, it is important to face up to tough decisions and flex the programme in response. It is often during reflection where new opportunities are discussed, not all opportunities are right so don’t be afraid of saying no, particularly if these opportunities deviate from your mission.

Transparency with funders is key, don’t bury your head in the sand

We have adopted a total transparency approach with our funders and commissioners. Our experience has been that we have a better chance of solving problems if we identify them early, share the challenges with our funders and explore our options carefully. Keep trying to diversify income – difficult but important, and tell funders as early as possible when there problem; funders are often able to renegotiate or reschedule payments to help. 

Contact: Keith Sykes - Youth & Communities Manager at Mytime Active | 02083231707