Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music, a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people, explains complementary fundraising.
At Youth Music we believe that everyone should have the chance to make music regardless of who they are, where they live, or what they’re going through. We’re currently reaching 89,000 children and young people each year through 350 music-making projects we support across England, 60 of these projects are in London, including Reprezent, a youth-led radio station in Brixton, and the Fairbeats! project working at AFRIL in Lewisham, providing music-making opportunities for children and young people from refugee, asylum seeking and new migrant families.
Our work helps children and young people to build their confidence, resilience and self-esteem. To meet different kinds of people, learn to trust each other, and make friends. To develop vital skills they need, get support to be able to face the world, and take control of their own lives. Many go on to mentor other children, to train as project leaders themselves and work for the projects that originally helped them.
2019 is the 20th Anniversary of Youth Music. We were founded in 1999 as a delegated distributor of National Lottery funds through Arts Council England. Twenty years on, this role continues with an annual investment of £9.651m per year. But the need for our support outstrips what we can supply. We can currently only support around 40% of the funding applications we receive, which makes our fundraising even more crucial. We were delighted when we became one of the charities supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery in 2013. Thanks to their players, this has grown each year and we currently receive annual support of £350,000.
Having the support of both the National Lottery and People’s Postcode Lottery works well together and has been vital for the development of our work over the last five years. Our National Lottery investment is restricted, which means we grant 92% directly out to music-making projects nationwide. The investment from People’s Postcode Lottery is unrestricted, giving us more flexibility to drive innovation and to help us with fundraising and administrative costs. It is primarily for these reasons why the joint support works so well for us – it’s an essential balance which helps ensure our impact is substantial, measurable and sustainable.
The protection of the National Lottery’s ability to raise funds for good causes is an important objective in reforming the law on society lotteries. Ever since the National Lottery was launched in 1994, it has transformed the charity landscape and, most importantly, the lives of the beneficiaries that charities support. At the same time, particularly over the last ten years, society lotteries have been growing, considerably adding to – and indeed complementing – this landscape. Therefore, I believe that the government should put in place a legal and regulatory landscape which helps grow both society lotteries and the National Lottery. This will ensure that both can maximise the investment made available to good causes like Youth Music. In complex times, young people deserve nothing less.
If you would like to support the work of Youth Music so it can meet the ever growing demand for its work, donations can be made here: youthmusic.org.uk/donate.