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Making Waves Success Stories

Our Making Waves project has been going from strength to strength due to the hard work and enthusiasm our young people have been showing. The project works with young people either at risk or already in the criminal justice system, connecting with them through music and media.

Young person sitting at drum kit
Neo at South Street Studios.

We were thrilled this summer when one of our Making Waves learners secured a place at Suffolk New College to study Music Production. Neo first came to South Street in 2018 and has been working one on one with Jay, one of our Music Tutors ever since. Thanks to hard work by the Making Waves team, this vital project was able to go virtual during lockdown and so the one to one sessions with Neo were able to continue. It’s meant working in a range of formats including text messages, phone calls, FaceTime and eventually Zoom calls, but the result is that Neo has been able to make music throughout lockdown.

Young person sitting with bass guitar.
Neo at South Street Studios.

In the course of his sessions with us, Neo spoke fondly of his desire to go to college, but he was daunted by the tasks he would have to complete in order to be accepted onto the course. So Jay tailored his sessions with Neo over 6 weeks to complete all the tasks, by breaking them down into small segments and helped him with his anxiety and worry. All this hard work paid off with Neo starting college in September to study Music Production. Neo is also looking to broaden his horizons further by volunteering as a sound engineer at a local music venue, which we are thrilled to support through our partnership work with The Smokehouse.

Today Neo will be sharing his story at Suffolk Community Foundation’s Annual Review as part of a video made at South Street Studios this summer.

Young person sitting at keyboard.
Neo at South Street Studios

Another young person that is a classic example of the in-depth and long-term support ICM’s dedicated team are able to offer young people, is Max.

One of our Music Tutors Angelle first met Max as a young person living in care while working with a local Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) run by one of our partners Raedwald Trust. PRUs are for young people who either aren’t in mainstream education or are at risk of exclusion. Max was interested in music, writing lyrics, beatboxing, singing and rapping and so our Making Waves programme was a really good fit.

Over the course of 10 weeks Angelle worked one on one with Max writing short poetry, recording covers as well as songs that he had written himself. During this time Max became a regular face at our base at South Street Studios, meeting all the staff and getting on well with everyone. This coincided with a very unsettled period in Max’s life, which saw him move home twice and change schools. But we continued to work with Max and introduce him to new opportunities, including starting piano lessons with another of our Music Tutors, recording music with a local sound engineer, as well as being interviewed by BBC Radio Suffolk and Suffolk Community Foundation. Max even spoke up for Children in Care at a seminar at Ipswich Town Football Club.

Here you can listen to one of the songs Max worked on with Angelle to write, record, and produce as part of the Making Waves project:

Unfortunately Max’s life then took a different path after he dropped out of school and started getting in trouble with the local police. Angelle says:

We worried about the influence of negative friendship groups and drugs. Because of his age, Max had to move to another home. I continued my work with him throughout all of this and signed him up to The Mix, a local music venue in Stowmarket to continue his piano lessons and music sessions. At this stage I was the only person Max would work with and even then sometimes I would travel to Stowmarket and he would not open his door to come out to his session.”

Max was subsequently moved again, this time to a home outside Suffolk and we lost contact with him for almost two years. But Max has recently moved back to Suffolk and asked to be put back in touch with Angelle to try and start one to one music sessions again.

Angelle says:

“In October I went to visit him as his support workers were not able to get through to him and asked if I could provide some positive external support and motivation before he is reviewed for his 18th birthday around his future plans. We had a positive interaction and Max spoke about wanting to get back to writing music and playing. Hopefully with very gentle nudging and support we can have Max back being supported by ICM.”

Here’s what Max had to say about his work with Angelle:

I’ve been able to write songs, I never thought I’d be able to write. One of the songs I’ve been writing at the moment I would not have been able to complete without Angelle’s help. I used to basically go out every night and get in trouble, not come home, but thanks to [ICM] I’ve been putting my life back on track, been keeping out of trouble and not been hanging out with people that I have been in the past because the friends that I was with, weren’t exactly role models. So it [work with ICM] has got me back on track.”

You can hear Max talk about some of his own journey in this video we made with him last year:

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