The Heavy Sound Community Reach & Inclusion Bus is an innovative project in partnership with the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and Scottish Prison Service which will travel into communities to support local young people.
Since January, volunteers from within the prison community at Saughton jail have stripped out the bus interior, and transformed it, installing hi-tech recording equipment.
The bus is a 40-foot single decker which will be refurbished to provide music-making facilities, a small hairdressing unit, a kitchen and interactive presentation screens, IT and office space.
The bus will take music projects, vocational training, and educational and advisory sessions on matters including housing, benefits, finances, employment, and health straight into the heart of the community.
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They are the Capital’s inspirational residents who have worked tirelessly in the background to help others in their community without the recognition they deserve.
Now, after eight weeks of poring over hundreds of entries, the Evening News is delighted to reveal our finalists for the 2019 Local Hero Awards.
These extraordinary people from across Edinburgh and the Lothians are the unsung heroes of their local communities, often going above and beyond the call of duty.
Judges included Jim Kerr, managing director of the event’s main sponsor, Farmer Autocare, Gaynor Marshall, communications director at Lothian transport, Evening News editor Euan McGrory and Allison Barr, founder of the awards’ charity partner Jak’s Den.
This year has seen the introduction of two new awards in the Music and Arts and Junior Local hero categories.
Winners will be announced on Friday, June 21 at Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel.
In the first collaboration of its kind, Heavy Sound is working with Police Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).
Since January, volunteer prisoners at Saughton jail have stripped out the bus interior, and transformed it, installing hi-tech recording equipment.
Image captionJoe is hoping he might get to use the bus once he leaves prison
Joe, a joiner to trade, and nearing the end of a lengthy sentence, was one of the first on board.
He says "I've worked on plenty kitchens, but never anything on this scale. It's a privilege.
"I think when it's finished, it will look great. I hope I might get to use it."
Malcolm Smith of the SPS said inmates were initially intrigued then enthused by working on the bus.
He explained: "It's the satisfaction of getting the opportunity of working on something worthwhile - giving something back to the communities some of them have come from - and it's a chance for some to gain employment when they leave here."
Health, well-being and engagement
Community Orientated and Opportunity Learning (COOL) Music was a 12-month collaborative project between researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University and practitioners at the Edinburgh-based social enterprise Heavy Sound. The project began in October 2017 and involved 16 sessions of participatory music making with 32 ‘hard-to-reach’ young people (aged 12–17) aimed at increasing confidence and self-esteem and improving social skills. Using COOL Music as a case study, this article explores some of the challenges faced by community-based arts organisations tasked with delivering such interventions, contrasting COOL Music’s small-scale, targeted, community-based approach with prevailing top-down music interventions in Scotland.
Full Paper at Cambridge Press
Heavy Sound was founded by former rapper Jordan Butler, who was homeless by the age of 13 and a victim of physical and sexual assault, with a history of addiction to drugs and alcohol.
One teenager, quoted in the GCU research, said: “At the end of it, I’m a different person and it’s helped me a lot. I learned how to be more confident in front of people.
“I used to be a bam. This project has made me think maybe I’m not all of that because I have been trying and a lot of things have been going good in my life now.”
Learning comes in various shapes and forms for students. Some are instantly invested in the classroom environment and others take time to adjust. In certain instances, pupils may be completely disconnected to learning.
COOL Music is a collaboration between Glasgow Caledonian University and the Edinburgh-based social enterprise Heavy Sound, founded by Jordan Butler. It has developed a programme that aids disillusioned and disengaged students to reconnect with themselves, education, and music.
Nobody can ever truly understand the struggles everyone is facing, even students in the classroom who are high-achievers could be under hidden strain.
The Commitment to Youth Development recognises a business that has been successful in engaging with, supporting, mentoring and motivating young people whilst at the same time providing them with skills to develop their own characteristics, values and habits. Heavy Sound CIC received this year’s award. Their social mission is to transform the lives of young people and communities through creative engagement in alternative forms of music, such as rap and hip hop, DJ’ing, electronic music production, graphic design and film making. They work with young people considered furthest from the employment market, disengaged and socially excluded, and help them develop new skills, build self-esteem, and realise their potential to find positive destinations in further education and career options.