SoundStorm is one of six organisations from across the south west that have been successful in securing Challenge Fund Investment from Real Ideas Organisation in the latest round of the partnership investment programme to support and encourage innovation in cultural education for young people, receiving a share of this year’s £270,000 pot.
The Challenge Fund was created by RIO, working with Arts Council England, and provides leveraged investment to support organisations, commissioners and partnerships that are unlocking new investment in cultural education activity for young people.This year, the Challenge Fund looked for proposals that demonstrated an evidenced need to support high quality arts for children and young people, with a particular emphasis on health and wellbeing.SoundStorm is the award winning Music Education Development Agency for the Bournemouth and Poole conurbation. Facilitating meaningful relationships between the music and education sectors, they aim to develop a robust and inspiring music education offer for Bournemouth and Poole and to be national leaders within their sector through the breadth and quality of their work.

Dan Somogyi, of SoundStorm Music Education Agency said: ‘We were delighted to be successful in our RIO Challenge Fund bid. It will both help us in developing a hugely exciting new project moving forward and challenge us to work in more imaginative and enterprising ways. Thanks to all who have given us this opportunity.’

SoundStorm’s project will use cultural education and social enterprise as a means to reintegrate some of the most disadvantaged / isolated /NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) young people from across Bournemouth and Poole back into education and interaction with their peers, whilst at the same time improving their health and wellbeing. Bournemouth and Poole is the largest non-industrial conurbation in Europe and has, like many urban centres, significant numbers of young people in disadvantaged circumstances. Targeted young people could include excluded children, NEET’s, refugee children, young people with mental health problems etc.

‘Our Challenge Fund project aims to work with four small cohorts of the most disadvantaged young people over a two year period, using a music recording and composition project to provide them both with great musical experiences and transferable skills that improve their prospects of gaining employment and entering further training once the course has finished. We hope also to improve their overall wellbeing.’

They are working in partnership with Bournemouth Integrated Youth Service, Absolute Music Solutions, Tregonwell Academy, Bournemouth and Poole 14-19 team, Futuristica Records and various other schools and charities.SoundStorm aims to provide participants with a stimulating, creative music experience whilst simultaneously developing employability skills and pathways of progression onwards. Bournemouth Youth Service, the principle partner on the project, is keen to look at cultural education – particularly music – to trial a new, outcome driven approach to engaging with some of the most hard-to-reach young people.

‘As part of the project, they will develop their own record label as a social enterprise. We will work with partners from across Bournemouth, including Bournemouth Youth Service, who will refer young people to the scheme.’

The aim is to involve four separate cohorts on 10 week placements over an 18-24 month period. The group will meet one day a week for this period, working with music leaders and industry professionals, in a studio setting. As well as creative song writing sessions, participants will learn about all the processes in creating professional quality recordings, get access to professional musicians and learn how to establish and manage their own record label, furnishing them with additional skills which should improve their employability. At the end of the course, participants will be signposted and encouraged to enrol on further training / apprenticeships, providing them with further skills that should continue to improve their wellbeing and life chances. If any of them are suitably inspired, some may also choose to take the record label on as a serious venture, and SoundStorm will aim to assist them in doing that.

‘We’re hoping at least 50% of participants will carry on into some kind of further training, education or employment and that we’ll also get some great musical outcomes!’

Absolute Music Solutions would provide the professional industry setting for most of the sessions, and Youth Centres would also be available. Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts, has offered potential space for live performance outcomes from the project.


SoundStorm will integrate Arts Award if feasible with the specialist group involved. This is in addition to employability skills acquired.