You might have heard about Plusnet recently coming to the aid of Grimethorpe Colliery Band when we offered to support their Youth Education Programme. The world famous band, star of 90’s cinema hit, Brassed Off, provide music lessons for school kids in their home town of Barnsley and, for a time, it looked like the music lessons might have to stop due to a lack of funding. We’re now happy to report that due to Plusnet’s help school children at Birkwood Primary School in Cudworth can now blow their horns and sound their trumpets until their little hearts are content! Esther Sutton Smith, music coordinator and class teacher at Birkwood, tells us how the school’s relationship with the band came about and what Plusnet’s help means to its young musicians: “Birkwood Primary School and Grimethorpe Colliery Band’s partnership came together in October 2011. My class topic for the term was 'Our Mining Heritage’. It was a wonderful opportunity for pupils to learn more about their community. At Birkwood we pride ourselves on creative learning; children learn best when they access topic work through art, creative writing, drama, dance and music. I never, for one minute, expected a reply to my e-mail asking the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band if they might help us out with 'a little talk to the children'. One phone call later and the entire band had offered their services for free - Grimethorpe Colliery Band was coming to perform in our school! The concert was fantastic; it brought together generations of families, (many ex miners) and members of our school and wider community. Our wonderful pupils experienced something completely new; it was the very first time that most of them had listened to live music – even if it was a little loud in our small school hall! The children were given the opportunity to ask professional musicians questions about their careers, their instruments and their music - Birkwood's pupils were inspired! From that moment on Grimethorpe Colliery Band have offered our pupils so many positive opportunities including a trip to perform together in Newham and the Olympic Park, London in April 2012. More recently, we have been 'blown away' by a fantastic new project funded entirely by Grimethorpe Colliery Band. A large group of our pupils are learning to play brass instruments for themselves. The band offers an inclusive opportunity to pupils and parents who have shown commitment to school life, musical activities and events and have a real interest in music. Grimethorpe Colliery Band has ensured that financial situations do not become a barrier for children who show promise! It's lovely that the band show such an interest in the children’s progress and, in December the Birkwood Brass Ensemble gave their very first concert to a packed audience including the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, who cheered and clapped very loudly. Each child involved in the project has shown a real commitment to their instrumental teacher, their instrument and their favourite brass band, they are very much aware that they have been offered a fantastic opportunity. Throughout 'great' and 'not-so-great' times in history, our local community has always offered support and encouragement to each other! Our fantastic, intelligent, inquisitive, engaged, talented and very musical children CAN aim high and achieve due to support and encouragement from Plusnet and Grimethorpe Colliery Band. All of us at Birkwood are thankful that Plusnet has enabled this outstanding project to continue, we are delighted that a Yorkshire-based company has gifted their support. In doing this, Plusnet and Grimethorpe Colliery Band will inspire Birkwood's very special children to be the very best that they can... wouldn’t it be amazing if our pupils became Grimethorpe Colliery Band members of the future? With sincere thanks from pupils, staff, families and the wider community of Birkwood Primary School. Esther Sutton Smith (Music Co-ordinator)Now doesn’t that melt your heart?! Thanks to all of our Plusnet Community (staff and customers) who urged us to support the band following their plight for help last month.