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16th Oct, 2021

Lockdown has not got in the way of music-minded youngsters

LOCKDOWN has not got in the way of music-minded young people in Stratford.

Stratford Music Network (SMN) – an organisation which provides free support and advice to rising stars – has been busy behind the scenes preparing to inspire more hopeful musicians at its first post-lockdown gig.

The organisation – created by rock & roll mum Clare Thomas – has launched a community project known as Spark, aimed at providing musical opportunities to vulnerable young people.

The programme, which is supported by Stratford Playhouse, has already created two local bands in the last four weeks. The fledgling bands aim to perform during the free gig at Tiddington’s Home Guard Club on August 29.

Clare told the Observer: “This is to demonstrate how easily this can be achieved and the positive outcomes that result from using music as a vehicle in which youngsters can channel their creative abilities, develop valuable life and employment skills, team work being the most obvious, and build confidence and self-esteem, all positive mental health benefits.”

The SMN founder began supporting talented youngsters after the popular Stratford Music Centre, based at Stratford School, closed due to rent increases.

The centre, which opened in 1973, was renowned locally for its ‘SMC Rock School’ which helped fledgling bands in the area. Recognising what the loss meant for its pupils, Clare and husband Mike invited their son Sam’s friends and fellow rockers – some who had suffered with various emotional struggles – to practice at their home along with help from a music mentor.

After a successful performance at the Playhouse, the couple were inspired to reach even more youngsters, giving rise to SMN.

Clare added: “The backdrop of this is to raise awareness of the importance of promoting positive mental health in young people – particularly in view of the past few months – and obviously as ever to try to bring music back to the town and support young people with their musical endeavours.”

For more information and updates search ‘Stratford Music Network’ on Facebook.

Visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/stratford-music-network for tickets.

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