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Project Visit: Horizon Studios

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Written by Youth Music Programme Officer, Phoebe Cross.

I recently went on my first North West project visit to Cumbria, to hang out with the team at Horizon Studios, a community-driven enterprise. They’re based in Barrow, a beautiful place by the sea (the train ride there is particularly scenic), where nearby cities are well over an hour away. It’s a fairly rural region, so Horizon is a key community project for young people nearby.

a group of people pose for a selfie and smile
Phoebe with the Horizon and Boom Dang teams

Horizon are running their Rising Stars project, part of their Youth Music Trailblazer Fund grant, to enable young people facing barriers to discover and develop their musical abilities. They aim to promote better mental health awareness, reduce anti-social behaviour by channelling young people’s energies into activities with positive outcomes, and develop personal and professional skills.

Cup of tea and biscuits in hand, it was a pleasure to meet some of the ‘Stars’ and listen to their incredible tracks. I was grateful they were happy to share them with me and open up about what they meant to them. Everyone there sang along to each other’s tracks and celebrated the music they’d all made together – it’s such a supportive group. I saw so clearly that this opportunity has allowed them to really grow into themselves musically and beyond. They spoke about how they’d like to see more performance opportunities in the area.

a sun tattoo on a forearm

Many of our funded projects create a space where young people feel safe, able to express themselves and open up about their lives. One of the young people I met, Bethan, has a Horizon tattoo – now that’s commitment!

Thanks to Therese from Boom Dang Foundation, another funded partner local to the area, for coming along too and to Swerve and JD for hosting me.


Is your project trialling work for the first time, testing a new way of working, or disrupting the status quo? The Youth Music Trailblazer Fund is currently open for applications.