Skip Content

Inspire young people Shine!

Published: 6 May 2014


This Easter, Inspire young people from schools around Tower Hamlets enjoyed a three day creative workshop Shine; making and experimenting with music in collaboration with young people who have learning disabilities and autism.

The project was a partnership between Toynbee Hall, Drake Music and Spitalfields Music. The aim of the project was to allow disadvantaged young people with disabilities access music and music making, and for Inspire to challenge their preconceptions of life for people with disabilities. The Shine project was devised by two Year 10 young people who felt that other young people would be engaged and inspired through the music workshops, and that they would enjoy learning new skills and exploring things about themselves.

The Inspire young people were encouraged to take on a peer mentorship role to allow the participating young people with learning disabilities to access music and the music creating process. The Inspire young mentors benefitted from training in Disability Awareness, designed to help them feel confident in their supportive role, and allowing them to gain great work experience too!  

The Inspire young mentors and young people with learning disabilities transformed the rooms at Toynbee Hall into a buzz of creativity. Together, they created five original pieces of music, created lyrics and melodies, raps and intrumentals around the theme of food. They discovered instruments and music technology but most of all, they discovered the joy of working as a team, litening to each other and valuing difference. 

Showcasing Shine!

The workshop ended on the third day, with a fabulous musical celebration. We were extremely honoured to be joined for the occasion by Unity Samba Band, who came all the way from Norwich especially for the occasion and Firefly Burning, a folk and world music collaboration of professional musicians, brought for the occasion by Spitalfields Music. 

The Shine young people had to overcome extreme stage fright and a lack of self confidence - for many this was their first experience performing and they received a standing ovation after taking on the stage to perfome their new music. They also received certificates charting their work at the end of their performance. 

Check out the photo album on our Facebook Page

Ailidh Macleod, Aspire Project Worker:

 I have found Shine very moving to be a part of; it has been amazing to witness the young people’s abilities in patience and kindness, and their awareness of the needs of others. Congratulations for all your bravery in taking part in the amazing performance!” 

Inspire young people said:

The project was amazing. We got to have lots of fun in ways that were totally new to me- Rock- tastic! “ 

“I have learnt loads about myself and overcome by stage fright. I didn’t know I have skills to help other young people and I know now that if I just try, I can do it.”

“I liked meeting new people. It really changed my opinion about what people with learning disabilities can do.”