Big Lottery Fund and ex gang members join forces to spread peace and unity to young people through new music campaign
Peace Mix, a new campaign from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) launches today aiming to spread a message of peace and unity to young people through music. The launch party will be held tonight at 7pm at the famous Westbourne Studios in London.
Hosted by leading music commentator John Robb, the launch event will feature showcase performances from some of the young artists who have been supported by BIG and other publicly funded music studios that exist as positive creative spaces for young people across the UK. Peace Mix ambassador and lead singer of Noisettes, Shingai, will also be at the event to share her music industry expertise and offer some words of wisdom to the young people in attendance.
Peace Mix was created after BIG and conflict resolution social enterprise the New Day Foundation (NDF) joined forces to give young people across the UK a voice and the opportunity to be part of a campaign that promotes peace. At the forefront of the newly formed NDF are former Birmingham gang members who after 10 years of feuding are now focusing on building a more peaceful future and are encouraging others to do the same.
One of them, Sharif Cousins, CEO of NDF, said: “NDF are a collective of people who share a vision to change our community for the better and put young people on a positive path. We’ve spent the last year negotiating with at-risk young people across Birmingham to prevent trouble. We’re very excited to be part of Peace Mix and to be promoting the studios and facilities as a way of uniting young people and giving them access to new opportunities.”
The event will also kick start 11 Peace Mix Mic Relay events being held across the UK, showcasing each area’s top young lyricists, MCs, songwriters, poets, singers and musicians. A panel of judges will select one local winner from each event to go forward to the semi-final at the Eden Project in Cornwall on 16 August, where one overall winner will be chosen to perform at the finale event alongside special surprise guests at London’s prestigious Roundhouse on 28 August.
Through the relay events, Peace Mix aims to promote BIG and other publicly funded music studios across the UK as positive creative spaces that young people can get involved in at little or no cost. The campaign will also celebrate young talent with a groundbreaking, crowd-sourced collaboration track that young people across the UK will be invited to contribute their lyrics, beats and music to.
The launch event will feature inspirational words from Shingai of the Noisettes, Linda Quinn, Director of Communications and Marketing at BIG, Sharif Cousins CEO of NDF, and Tim Smit, Chief Executive at the Eden Project, who are supporting the campaign. Guests from the music industry, social enterprise and charity sectors will also be entertained by performances from NDF and Warner Music act Paper Crows, as well as rising stars from campaign partners, urban youth charity XLP and social enterprise education through music charity Blastbeat.
Linda Quinn from BIG commented: “This is a groundbreaking partnership where BIG acts as more than just a funder, and is able to bring people and organisations together to create a campaign that reaches out to young people across the UK to promote peace and understanding and make a positive difference in their community. This is a great opportunity for not only musicians, lyricists, MCs, songwriters and poets to come forward to showcase their talent but for all young people to support their peers and to be part of our peace themed collaboration track, which will be launched later this year on the International Day of Peace.”
Peace Mix has brought together a broad range of partners including youth engagement agency Livity plus community groups, the voluntary sector, youth organisations and regional charities. Together they hope to offer young people the encouragement and resources they need to improve their life-chances and realise their full potential.
For more information please visit www.peacemix.co.uk.