We’re very proud to announce that Plusnet has stepped in for the second year running to give support to the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, allowing the band to continue its great work in the community and help grow talent in the area.
The band, based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire has been a bastion of the local community since founded in 1917 and achieved global fame in 1995 when it was the inspiration for the hit British movie, Brassed Off, which starred Ewan McGregor.
Last year the band’s fate echoed scenes from the film as funding cuts left them in danger of being unable to carry out its vital work in the community. As so many of you have long associated us with the brass band from our advertising we were inundated with requests to help and so offered a donation to support Grimethorpe Colliery Band’s schools music programme.
This week – one year on - we visited Birkwood Primary to see the progress being made. It was really exciting to see how life has changed dramatically for these children. As the profile of music within the school has been raised, pupils are now reaching the standard necessary to take music exams – a first in the school’s history.
Pictured: Pupils and staff from Birkwood primary school with Grimethorpe Colliery Band member, Martyn Beecham and John Ingman of Barnsley Music Services.
This is our second donation to the music programme. The funds will be used to ensure the continuation of the band’s youth education scheme which will ensure 15 pupils between the ages of 8 and 11 at the Birkwood Primary School will have the opportunity to take specialist music lessons.
Showcasing just how valuable the programme has been to pupils at the school, class teacher and school music co-ordinator at Birkwood Primary School Esther Sutton Smith said,
“Children at Birkwood Primary are now aspiring to be musicians and getting ready to take their first music exams which is incredibly exciting for us! Beyond the obvious musical advantages we are actually seeing an increase in children’s self esteem, especially for those who are not as strong in other area. It’s wonderful to see them take such pride in their achievements. We’re also noticing a real sense of engagement with the community as local people flock to watch the children perform, for which we are very grateful.
Tegan, aged 10, a pupil at Birkwood Primary School commented,
“I play tenor horn, and things that I learn in my music lessons help me concentrate during lots of my other lessons.” Whilst nine year old Joshua added, “My brass teacher inspires me to concentrate.”
Headteacher of Birkwood Primary School, Julie Allen expressed her appreciation to Grimethorpe Colliery Band and the generosity of Plusnet to enable these wonderful opportunities to take place. She is very proud of Esther's dynamic leadership and of course the children's efforts and dedication.
Andy Baker, CEO of Plusnet commented,
“Last year you called on us to help Grimethorpe Colliery Band continue its work with the community. The plight of such a traditionally Yorkshire institution made it an easy decision, and we are continuing to support them for a second year. It has been a real privilege to see how Birkwood Primary School and the children are flourishing under the band’s teaching. We are proud to continue to fund next year’s programme.”
Grimethorpe Colliery Band Manager, Nigel Dixon added,
“It’s encouraging to know there are companies like Plusnet out there, ready to step up and show support for their local communities. With this further injection of funding we hope to do Grimethorpe proud as the crop of talent at Birkwood Primary School develops through the music programme.”
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