Song Club Sessions for youngsters at Darlington’s Forum attract funding boost

MUSICIANS are singing the praises of an organisation that has offered a funding boost to give youngsters a voice.

Industry experts have been helping Darlington’s young people develop their musical talents at The Forum’s regular Song Club Sessions.

The pilot scheme was launched in a bid to give aspiring musicians a platform and the opportunity to collaborate and create new music together.

A grant recently secured from Youth Music UK will enable the project to continue for the next two years.

Through workshops, mentors and visits from special guests, participants will be inspired to work on their own material and learn more about “every aspect” of the music industry.

The sessions – led by mentors including producers, studio engineers and musicians – will also give young people from Darlington and the surrounding area access to recording studios and rehearsal space.

Allison Mckay, CEO of The Forum, said: “For us, giving young people the opportunity to explore different types of music as well as creating their own is so important, which is why we developed the Song Club Sessions.

“The goal of the sessions is to give a platform for young people to collaborate in music-making, helping them to grow in confidence through their peers and develop their own individual talent.”

Song Club Sessions mentor, and singer-songwriter, Hayley Mckay said she was looking forward to attracting some high profile guests.

She said: “The funding means we can access some of the best in the business and have already lined up producer Jez Larder, who has worked with David Bowie and Simply Red, as well as two of the North East’s most talented hip-hop MCs, Shakk and Endem.”

The pilot sessions were funded by the County Durham Community Foundation, Darlington Education trust and the #iwill Youth Trust.

Alison Mckay thanked the organisations for their support with the initiative and said: “Without this support, we wouldn’t have been able to attract larger funding to secure the long-term future of the club.”

Song Club Sessions take place every Wednesday at The Forum from 4.45pm until 6.45pm during term time and are suitable for people aged 13 to 17.

Youth Music UK is a charity that invests in music-making projects involving young people nationwide. For more information, visit

For more information about the sessions, visit or call the venue on 01325 363135.

By Joanna Morris (The Northern Echo)

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