The Music Works, a Gloucestershire youth charity, has won the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers (AYM) John Hawkins Award – along with the Youth Support service in Gloucestershire – for the best delivery programme across England and Wales within all Youth Offending Teams (YOT).

The award was judged by four young people from Wakefield YOT – last year’s winner – and they were unanimous in declaring The Music Works’ ‘Making It’ programme this year’s winner.

‘Making It’ is a music mentoring programme which helps young people who have offended or are at risk of offending to discover their potential through music, and explore the difference that music can make in their lives. It was co-created by The Music Works and the Youth Support service in Gloucestershire, which is run by Prospects on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

Mentors from The Music Works work alongside each young person to understand their musical passions and interests (which may also come from films, gaming or other creative areas of their life), and build trust, mutual respect and understanding.

The young person collaborates with their mentor each week to explore and build on her/his interests and skills, and explore their musical and life goals. These sessions might involve anything from making, recording and mixing music using instruments and/or technology; to building music industry-related skills like putting on events.

The Music Works sees young people on the ‘Making It’ programme grow in self-belief and purpose and reduce their negative behaviours. They develop their creativity, confidence, self-belief and motivation. In many cases they find new aspirations for the future, become more mentally resilient, and improve their relationships.

The young people judging the competition enjoyed discussing the ‘Making It’ entry more than any of the others, and felt inspired by it. One of the judges decided to start writing some lyrics, and another is going to learn to play the guitar. They even joked about forming a YOT boy band! All agreed it would be something they’d like to be part of given the chance.

Deborah Potts, CEO of The Music Works said: “It’s fantastic to have this wider recognition for the hard work that both teams, and young people, have put into this programme. Like many of our programmes it’s been developed alongside young people and our partners, responding to their ideas and feedback and that’s why we know it works. We’ve recently heard good news that Youth Music, the national charity which invests in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances, is going to be supporting the programme for another two years, so it’s a double celebration for everyone involved.”

Making It is funded by Youth Support and the first phase was also funded by the Real Ideas Organisation, High Sheriffs’ Fund Gloucestershire, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Gloucestershire, Postcode Community Trust and Cotswold Primrose Trust.

Press enquiries: Anita Holford, Communications & Evaluation lead, The Music Works aholford@themusicworks.org.uk or admin@themusicworks.org.uk