Circle Of Light Awarded £100,000 To Expand Life-Changing Music Programme For Young People



The groundbreaking Circle of Light music project is expanding across the East Midlands and inviting young people to sign up for its innovative programme to improve their mental health and equip them with the tools to shape their own future. 

With the outcomes for young people shown to be more severely impacted by the pandemic along with rising levels of anxiety and depression, this award-winning project that educates, inspires and empowers young people through the creation of new music is needed more than ever.
Following significant success in improving outcomes for young people who took part in 2019 and 2020, the new grant from Youth Music using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, will enable it to expand and develop its offer to create sustainable opportunities for the participants.
Sam Scott from Youth Music, said “We’re delighted to have awarded a grant to Offshoots for the Circle of Light project which will provide young people with a skills toolkit, alongside self-confidence and the self-belief that they can have a real and lasting impact on their own futures. It’s really exciting and important to be able to support music-making projects that offer young people opportunities to take the lead and be involved in all aspects of delivery.”


The opportunities on offer include summer workshops, industry masterclasses, paid programme co-ordinator roles and mentor roles, volunteer mentor roles, wellbeing activities and for the first time, the chance to gain a Rock School Level 4 Professional Diploma selecting different units to pathways to facilitate progression into the cultural sector. 

Music education consultant Kate Rounding is helping to create and deliver the Diploma along with Education and Bass and said: “Project partners will work together to host shared masterclasses, seminars and performances, and to evidence young people’s creative experiences and achievements by embedding the RSL diploma at the heart of the creative process. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate, connect with new audiences and to support each other at shared performances across two cities.”

Kate is working with Circle of Light to develop a supportive network, and is establishing partnerships with national arts and creative industry organisations, liaising with businesses and industry professionals, who can support the project and the participants. The learning from this project will inform and help others to provide substantial experiential and accredited learning opportunities for young people experiencing barriers to music education.

The summer workshops taking place at Circle of Light’s new city centre home, FisherGate Point, will be open for up to 30 young people in Nottingham while there are 10 places up for grabs run through HQ CAN. Applications can be made through the new Circle of Light website, created by assistant programme co-ordinator Tiffany Holland.


Tiffany, who joined Circle of Light in 2019 as a participant and admits she was lacking in self confidence and hesitant to sing in public, said the project has had a profound impact on her life. Now releasing her own music – Project Zeus – Wholehearted ft Tiffany - she is set to play at a house & garage music festival this summer.

Tiffany said: “I feel so lucky to have been a part of Circle of light. In just two years my life has done a complete U-turn and I’ve been catapulted into the music and creative industry, working alongside professionals that take my ideas seriously. I really can’t imagine how things would have looked for me without an opportunity like this.”
Since launching in 2019, Circle of Light has gone from strength to strength, from launching its own record label with Horus Music to release the annual Circle of Light album produced during the summer workshops and opening a dedicated recording studio and Apple Mac suite fully equipped with music software at its new city-centre venue Fisher Gate Point.
The studio features a soundproofed singing booth and mixing desk and is available to all past and present participants and mentors. As an example of how Circle of Light works, it is being run entirely by the young people who joined the project in 2019, with the resource being available to rent with income put back into the project.
The project has also seen participants win several awards – from Mae Monypenny winning the Youth Music Live Performance Award and the all-girl group winning a Young Creative Award for their track Confused in 2019, followed by Adrian Raynworth winning a Bicep award in 2020 in a hugely competitive competition for his track Connection with the house music heroes saying ‘Really nice idea here…massive potential!’.
This year Emily Makis has been shortlisted in the Young Producer category of the national Youth Music awards for her work on COL tracks including the award winning ‘Confused’, with winners to be announced in October 2021.
Open to young people aged between 18-25, Circle of Light offers an opportunity to work with leading musicians and professionals to develop a range of creative and practical skills relevant to the music and live event sectors and developed in partnership with young people who have designed the programme.
To stay in touch with the project, follow Circle of Light on social media and #circleoflightnotts #COLnotts.
For more info and to apply for this year’s Circle of Light, go to 


Twitter –

Instagram –

 The award-winning programme is now open for applications from young people aged between 18-25 with an interest in music regardless of previous experience with a range of roles on offer from social media producers, journalists and photographers through to runners, presenters and event organisers as well as singer-songwriters and playing musicians. Working with a new partner, HQ Can (Community Arts Network,  Leicester’s leading urban music specialist, the project is expanding across the East Midlands.
Talking about the experience of taking part last year, one young person said: “This is what we needed…I’d forgotten how to talk to people but when we started to make music together, I felt excited and forgot about Covid.”

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