Southampton City Council Lead Consortium to Deliver New Regional Music Hub

As part of a national programme to provide high quality music education for all children and young people

Schools Christmas Concert 2023

A consortium known as the South Coast Music Partnership has been appointed by Arts Council England to lead the new expanded Music Hub covering Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP), Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton from September 2024 as part of a national programme to provide high-quality music education for all children and young people. The consortium, led by Southampton City Council includes; Southampton & Isle of Wight Music (on behalf of Southampton City Council and Isle of Wight Council), SoundStorm (on behalf of the current BCP Music Hub) and Portsmouth Music Service (on behalf of Portsmouth City Council).

South Coast Music Partnership will receive £1.6m investment from the Department for Education. This includes £1.2m to coordinate music education activities, as well as £400,000 to invest in new musical instruments, equipment and technology to meet the needs and ambitions of children and young people in the region, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

South Coast Music Partnership will deliver high quality music education accessible to all children and young people in the region through diverse partnerships between educational, creative and community organisations. The investment will help to deliver the National Plan for Music Education, and give all children and young people the opportunity to develop their musical interests as far as they wish, including helping them to begin careers in the music industry.

The new Hub will build on the strong track records of Portsmouth Music Hub, SoundStorm, and Southampton/Isle of Wight Music Hub as individual organisations and collaborative partners. They will continue to lead coordination of the local offer in their local authority areas, building on their own strong networks of local partnerships. They will also work strategically together, and with partners across the region.

Kath Page, Southampton and Isle of Wight Music Manager, said: "This is a huge achievement for the consortium and for the team in Southampton. We are thrilled to be working in partnership with the other local authority regions. This provides us with a unique opportunity to further the fantastic work already done by the existing music hubs, providing the everyday and the exceptional experiences for children and young people across the south coast region. We have a strong track record of working together and are delighted to continue this legacy, maximising opportunity and financial support for music education in the region."

Derek Wiles, Divisional Head of Education and Learning, said: "This announcement is great news for the children and young people of Southampton who will continue to benefit from the life-changing power of music! Having a Music Hub which works so closely with schools, partners, and families to provide high-quality, inspirational and inclusive music opportunities is a great demonstration of the council's commitment to giving all young people a good start in life, helping them to be happy and healthy, and to achieve and learn."

Cllr Alex Winning, said: "I am thrilled that Southampton City Council's Music Hub has been awarded a significant bid worth £1.2m to lead as a regional music hub, encompassing Southampton, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, and Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole. This milestone achievement underscores our commitment to providing exceptional music education opportunities for children and young people across the region, and we look forward to inspiring the next generation of musicians!"

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: "Music education is enormously powerful – it can enrich young people's lives, help them connect with the people around them, and start them on the pathway to fruitful and fulfilling careers.  We are excited to announce this investment in a new generation of Music Hubs, which will support the brilliant work of our dedicated music teachers across the country, and help bring high-quality music."

Phil Gibby, South West Area Director, Arts Council England, adds: "We’re thrilled to award over £9.4 million from the Department for Education to seven new Music Hubs across the South West. Each Hub Lead Organisation is set to enable high-quality musical activities to thousands of children and young people in the region, so that everyone everywhere can pick up an instrument and express themselves.  A further £3 million will boost access to industry-spec technology and equipment, helping to raise ambitions and remove barriers to the artform. We can’t wait to see a new generation of talent sing, compose and play their way to a more inclusive future. Thanks to public funding and the work of talented teachers and practitioners, that vision is possible."