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Youth Music Awards 2023 Winners: AutismAble

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Get to know the trailblazing winners across the 12 categories at the Youth Music Awards 2023 in association with Hal Leonard Europe.

a man leans forward and speaks passionately into a microphone
Ian Black (L) and Lauren Spelling (R) / Credit: Nic Serpell-Rand

AutismAble CIC - Future Collaborations

North East

AutismAble won the Outstanding Project Award sponsored by TikTok.

Future Collaborations by AutismAble equalises access to music for disadvantaged young people across the North East, those who typically face barriers to music - whether that is because of their background, gender, ability, status, ethnicity or financial situation - with an outlet to express themselves. Many members who attend the sessions are neurodivergent and struggle with social anxiety and poor mental health.

The project goes far beyond music tuition, allowing members to take leadership of their learning, build confidence and self-esteem through performing, make decisions, gain new skills and develop friendships. The staff are fantastic and incredibly passionate about the project and the young people it serves. They go above and beyond to provide unique opportunities that are often rare for neurodivergent and disadvantaged young people. The project has supported so many young people from different backgrounds and brought neurodivergent and neurotypical people together over a shared passion for music. 

a man with strawberry blonde hair and a woman with dark brown curly hair hold an award
Credit: Connie Burke

On the importance of the Future Collaborations project:

“We are an organisation that try and reach out to neurodivergent people, and make a safe space to enjoy music. We help them participate in events alongside neurotypical people.”

“It’s so rewarding for us, but also for them. As an actual autistic person myself it’s so important to see other young people getting the opportunity to explore and to share their voices in a safe place; a place where they feel encouraged to share their voices in a safe space, in a place where they feel encouraged, and in a place where they feel a hundred percent confident in doing so. So it is so so so important”

How music has helped the project participants to progress in life:

“Some of our young people went on to have their own bands, they’ve went on to college to get their own degrees, BTECs, and the confidence that they have gained from this is absolutely incredible and we are just so so proud to see our young people come so far”

How projects can create more equality and equity:

“Listen to young people, take their voices into account and listen to what you have to say because at the end of the day, it’s them who are going to benefit the most.”


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