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Campaign of the Week: Helping young musicians achieve their dreams

TOMORROW’S Warriors Artist Development Programme helps aspiring young jazz musicians to achieve their creative ambitions by providing free access to learning and training.

The programme at Southbank Centre reaches out in particular to those from low-income and black and ethnic minority backgrounds, or those whose circumstances would tend to lock them out of opportunities to pursue a career in the music industry.

After its funding came to an end in 2018 and it was unsuccessful in its bid for a new funder, Tomorrow’s Warriors was left struggling to keep supporting young musicians.

Tomorrow’s Warriors co-founder and chief executive Janine Irons said that with the money running out, they needed very quickly to raise some money to keep the programme open and free.

Crowdfunding was the clear favourite to achieve this, Irons said, even though it was extremely daunting at the time to seek to raise a large sum of money using a method that was entirely new to them.

Funding for the programme is currently through a mixture of trusts and foundations, private donations, earned income from gigs and merchandise. However, it is still seeking a multi-year funder or sponsor for the programme.

Irons said: “This is particularly important to enable us to plan, develop and grow the programme and help us reassure parents and young people that the programme is secure. 

“A problem for us is that people think we don't need funding because we’re a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England. However, this funding only helps us to exist as an organisation, as it covers a proportion of our core costs.

“We still need to fundraise for all of our learning and artistic activities with young people and professional artists.”

The #IAMWARRIOR campaign is hoping to raise £100,000 through private giving to help secure the programme for the rest of the year.

With its Arts Council England Catalyst Evolve funding, the council will match all donations up to £100,000 provided the donations are into Tomorrow's Warriors Trust’s bank account by August 31.

Warriors have been working within their community to create short videos and shareable content for social media to raise awareness of the funding gap in their programme, but also in arts funding generally.

A fundraiser was also held at The Jazz Cafe in Camden, where Tomorrow's Warriors was “born” back in 1999.

At the gig, they commissioned new works from seven of their alumni — Soweto Kinch, Cassie Kinoshi (both Mercury Prize nominees), Binker Golding, Shirley Tetteh, Mark Crown, Zara McFarlane and Peter Edwards, each of whom created a fantastic piece to be performed by Warriors with the artist as a featured guest.

#IAMWARRIOR has raised awareness of Tomorrow’s Warriors not only as a highly successful programme for music education and training, but also as a vehicle for social good, for social change.

Irons said: “Our brilliant alumni have supported the campaign 100 per cent and, thanks to them and our existing supporters, we have been able to connect with over 400 generous new supporters.

“We are incredibly fortunate that, after 28 years, we have a huge extended family of Warriors who will help us fight to keep our programmes free to all.”

“Thanks to the hundreds of donors, we have been able to keep our programme running this year, having previously been fearful that it might need to close.

“We are so grateful to each and every one of our supporters for walking alongside us on this journey and hope they all will want to continue doing so in future, perhaps as regular donors and volunteers.

“In this way they can help us continue transforming young lives through the gift of music, giving these amazing young Warriors access to outstanding opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have.”

Tomorrow’s Warriors will soon be unveiling recordings from its Jazz Cafe gig, available for purchase. Each of the artists have waived their sales royalty on the recordings so all proceeds will go to supporting the next generation of talented young Warriors. 

In 2020 Tomorrow’s Warriors will be hosting another #IAmWarrior fundraiser at The Jazz Cafe on January 25.

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