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Friday Nights transformed for Hackney youth group

12 April 2011

A Hackney youth group has given Friday nights a whole new meaning for local young people, with a little help from the Big Lottery Fund. Real Roots Enterprise was awarded £10,000 in December’s round of Awards for All grants to fund their Friday Night Project 

This innovative project is aimed at harnessing the creativity of disadvantaged young people on the night of the week when they are most vulnerable to peer pressure and likely to engage in anti-social behaviour, drug and alcohol abuse and knife and gun crime.

Real Roots celebrated the project’s launch on 26 February at the Shacklewell Studios in Dalston where the 15-week scheme will run. CEO Hopeton Allen said: “The project is all about encouraging communication, confidence and discipline, while giving participants a platform to express themselves and an opportunity to learn new skills. We aim to help develop aspiring talent, especially among deprived and disenfranchised young people in Hackney, and help them to deliver inspirational songs, with clean lyrics that help create a positive lifestyle.”

Young people at the Friday Night Project. (Photo: Rob Baker Ashton)

Young people enjoying the Friday Night Project (Photo: Rob Baker Ashton)

To ensure the project has a lasting impact on all the young people who take part, participants are assigned an inspirational life mentor to support them during the project and help find them work placements to gain more experience once it is over.

Hopeton feels a project like this can make a huge difference: “Our Friday Night Project will take significant steps in helping to change the lives and mentality of disadvantaged young people and get them involved in activities including DJing, song writing, music production, studio recording and live performance. So many young lives have been lost in Hackney from gang, gun and knife crime, but a scheme like this can help show young people that there is another way.”

BIG’s Awards for All programme offers grants of between £300 and £10,000 to projects that will benefit local communities and make a difference to the lives of those most in need. You’re never far away from an Awards for All project, so why not tell us about projects that have had a positive impact on your local area?

If you’ve got a great idea for a project and you’d like to apply for funding, visit the Awards for All website

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