THE team behind a youth music charity which began life in the Forest 20 years ago are excited to be returning to their roots with the launch of a new hub in Cinderford later this year.

Works to convert the old HSBC bank in the town into a state-of-the-art music hub are “well underway” according to Gloucestershire charity The Music Works, which started in the Forest as ‘Forest of Dean Music Makers’ back in 2004. 

The charity says the hub will “transform young lives” in the Forest, giving young people access to “cutting edge” music technology alongside a sensory music room, outdoor performance space and a much-needed changing places toilet for the town.

The repurposing of the old HSBC bank building was made possible by Levelling Up funding secured from the government by Cinderford Town Council, but The Music Works has raised more than £900,000 from investors and the community for the development of facilities for the new hub over the last few years.

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Since 2021, the charity has been delivering a range of music activities, workshops, open-mic sessions and more at its music hub in Gloucester. 

It has proved “a huge success”, the charity says, with over 1,500 young people regularly using it. 

The team now have high ambitions to repeat the success of the Gloucester hub for young people in the Forest.

Music Leader and Studio Engineer at The Music Works Manon Molyneux said: “As a forester myself, ... I’m most excited to see [more young people having] access to an incredible space that can be life-changing for them. 

“I’m also looking forward to seeing the growth of the Forest of Dean’s music scene and having a space to hold community events, make music and meet new people!”.

The Music Works says of the new facility: “Designed by young people, for young people, the hub will be more than just a music studio. 

“It will be a place for people to feel supported, empowered and inspired to be creative in the way that works for them. 

“Young people will be able to meet other like-minded creatives, bringing back aspiration and ambition to Cinderford; where everyone, whatever their circumstances, can thrive through music.”

It adds that the aim is for the hub to engage 600 young people a year, helping them to develop their passion for music, their creative and performance skills, and support their career paths in whatever form they take.

The charity wishes to thank all who helped to raise the funds needed to make the hub a reality, including the local community. 

“We are very grateful to the Youth Investment Fund, our main funder, and key contributors including Pied Piper Appeal for their Sensory Room support, Bernard Sunley, and Free Hospital Trust Fund. 

“We would like to say a special thank you to the local community, for raising an impressive £3,480.

“The Music Works extends sincere appreciation to all supporters, champions, and donors who have played a crucial role in making this project a reality.”

Manon Molyneux added: “Having the new hub in the Forest of Dean is going to be a game changer for the community, to have a state-of-the-art space that can hold outdoor events, a space to learn new skills, and to just be a fun space to get involved in music will be incredible. 

“As isolation in the Forest of Dean is a big problem, I really hope that we provide the young people with their own space to take ownership of and make theirs!”

With their sights set on a spring 2024 opening, the charity has launched a survey that will allow young people to have their say in developing the offering at the hub.