Loud and Clear celebrates 10 years of life changing music making
This month marks the 10th anniversary of Sage Gateshead’s Loud and Clear programme. Since 2012, care experienced children, adoptive parents and foster carers have been enjoying the benefits of music-making through weekly sessions.
To commemorate 10 years, families, musicians and partner organisations came together to celebrate Loud and Clear through a music-making party on Thursday 27 October at Sage Gateshead. The event included the premiere of the Loud and Clear 10th birthday song, written by Music Leaders and families from across the Loud and Clear programme.
Loud and Clear sessions are led by Sage Gateshead in partnership with Newcastle and Gateshead Local Authority Fostering Teams, Adopt North East, and Adoption Tees Valley. Care experienced children between 0-7 years and their families attend one of three weekly sessions – Foster Family Learning, Adoptive Family Learning, or Move on Up (for adopted 5-7 year-olds). Instruments, songs, and ideas are shared so learning can continue at home.
Over the past 10 years Loud and Clear has worked with over 225 care experienced families over 900 sessions, alongside 14 skilled music leaders. It has also held 136 online sessions.
Laura and her adopted son Oliver discovered Loud and Clear in 2017. At adoption training, she met other families who said brilliant things about the group and inspired her to bring Oliver along.
“I have bonded with other families. We’ve been through the same process and training, so it’s a really supportive space,” she says.
After a recommendation from Adopt North East in 2021, Kat and her adopted daughter Poppy started coming to the sessions. From the first class, Kat knew that Loud and Clear was the right place for them. She says, “There’s a lovely sense of community, and it’s brilliant fun for the children.”
Reflecting on 10 years of the programme, Wendy Smith, Director, Contemporary Music and Creative Learning at Sage Gateshead said: “Loud and Clear helps to establish stability and continuity for care experienced children and builds relationships between children and their foster carers, adoptive parents and peers or siblings through music making activities such as singing and playing instruments. We are proud of everything the families, partners and the team here at Sage Gateshead have achieved over the last decade, and as we celebrate this important milestone, we are looking forward to many more years of inclusive music making.”
A Newcastle Local Authority Fostering team member said: “The use of songs and movement between parent and child is the type of attachment promoting interaction we talk to our adopters about. Moreover, some of the children’s early experiences have been very difficult, and they have not been given the opportunity to play spontaneously, and some will need to learn to play. For adopters too, this is a time of learning as many are new to parenting.”
Illustrations by Lily Mae Kroese
Jackie Thompson, Jackie.email@example.com 0191 4434602
About Sage Gateshead
- Sage Gateshead is an international music centre for the North East and wider North. Through music, creative learning and artist development, the organisation demonstrates what music can achieve for communities.
- Since opening in 2004, Sage Gateshead has worked side by side with partners and the wider community to help address the complex blend of social and economic challenges the region faces.
- Sage Gateshead continues to be a major employer bringing investment and tourism into the region. We’ve generated a c. £500 million contribution to the local economy.
- Sage Gateshead has brought social, cultural and educational value to over 10 million people and millions more via digital and broadcast activity. The scale of its artistic, learning and artist development activity places Sage Gateshead amongst the UK’s largest cultural organisations, while reaching a substantially more socially and economically diverse audience.
- Pre-pandemic Sage Gateshead attracted 2 million visitors; 5,000 people took part in weekly music classes; 17,854 school children experienced live orchestral music and we worked with a further 2,418 vulnerable young people; more than 2,000 adults a week took part in music making designed to tackle social isolation.
- The North East region is one of the worst affected by Covid-19. The region will be one where the recovery is slow and hard. Arts and culture have a pivotal role to play in regional and nation-wide recovery.
- Covid-19 presents a major financial challenge to Sage Gateshead. 80% of its income has been affected, and in 2020/21 £10 million in revenue was lost. The organisation has taken swift action to overcome this crisis. 90% of the workforce was placed on furlough, significant cost savings have been sought and found, and it launched a fundraising campaign to raise £3 million to help secure the organisation during the next three years. Further challenges lie ahead; in 2021/22, Sage Gateshead estimates box office and trading income to be less than half of what would be expected in a normal year.
- Sage Gateshead temporarily closed to the public on 17 March 2020, five days ahead of the announcement of the national lockdown. Performances recommenced in October 2020 with a season of socially distanced concerts featuring Royal Northern Sinfonia and artists across types of music, made available by live stream. Audiences were able to be present in the hall for two weekends of those performances.
- In 2020 Sage Gateshead received a grant of £2.8 million from the Culture Recovery Fund Round One to help it through the pandemic and associated financial crisis. In 2021 the charity received a loan of £3m from the Culture Recovery Fund Round Two to support recovery. It has thanked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Arts Council England for this vital support.