Project Celebrates “Changing Tracks” of Young Lives

Gareth Jones, Centre Trainee at The Hive, and Sven Worrow, Project Leader and Alcohol Worker, with some of the equipment used in Changing Tracks

The celebration of a successful project to tackle alcohol issues among young people through music has been rescheduled for next month.

Changing Tracks, run by The Hive Music and Media Centre, has made a real impact on the lives of those who took part in Shrewsbury and Oswestry.

It was launched in late 2007 to teach young people about the impact and dangers of alcohol misuse and safe and sensible drinking for when they become adults.

Running alongside the education and one to one advice is a programme of music workshops, showing participants what they can accomplish through their own creativity.

At the start of the project, West Mercia Police helped the steering group that came up with the idea successfully apply for significant funding from Comic Relief, with further funding coming from the Youth Music Action Zone and Nexus.

Originally planned for this month, The Hive will now host its celebratory conference and showcase of Changing Tracks on Thursday 4th November to evaluate the impact the pilot has had.

The free event, which includes lunch and refreshments, will run from midday until 4pm. Anyone can attend but places need to be booked in advance by contacting The Hive on 01743 234970 or via email on admin@hiveonline.org.uk.

It will also incorporate a presentation from Youth Music, a leading UK charity to use music to transform the lives of disadvantaged children and young people. The presentation is entitled “Looked After Children and Music Making: an evidence review” and will feature the Youth Music Action Zone in Shropshire.

Many of those coming into the project suffered low self esteem and felt they were in an unchangeable situation.

However, by showing them what they could accomplish through music, their confidence grew and many have since become involved in other projects and even ended up volunteering themselves to help others in similar situations.

Changing Tracks is managed by The Hive in partnership with Youth Music Action Zone, Shropshire Council, the Young People’s Substance Misuse Team, Shropshire Drug Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) and West Mercia Police.

Sheena Griffiths, External Funding Manager for West Mercia Police, helps police partners with applications for funding and grants for community projects.

She worked with The Hive team at the outset of Changing Tracks to secure the Comic Relief Grant.

Mrs Griffiths said: “Changing Tracks has provided a fantastic service for young people in Shropshire by getting them involved in something creative while also giving them the support for problems they might have.

“West Mercia Police is fully supportive of any project that encourages young people to make positive decisions about their lives and I am thrilled that the scheme has proved so successful.”

Chief Constable Paul West attended the project launch in 2007, where he was hugely impressed with the scheme and the talent of some of Shropshire’s young bands that played at the event.

For more information about next month’s event, visit The Hive’s website at www.hiveonline.org.uk or call project leader Sven Worrow on 01743 234974.