From education to employment

Disadvantaged teens to benefit from revamped community music venture

Vic Studios has rebranded as @WrexhamSounds 

AWARD-WINNING music studios will reopen with a new name in new premises and a vision to transform the lives of disadvantaged youngsters who cannot access lessons in school or college.

The former Vic Studios has rebranded as Wrexham Sounds and moved from the town’s Hill Street to Rhosrobin.

A not-for-profit social enterprise, the studio will provide music-based sessions to children and teenagers from challenging and socially deprived backgrounds, lessons to those unable to access them at school or college, and offer support and guidance to young local talent.

All this will take place in a revamped facility, supported by a group of volunteers who have steered the organisation through the Covid-19 pandemic while structuring a new business model that will secure the future of the organisation for many years to come.

Director Dave Gray said: “We’ve come through an incredibly tough time and haven’t been able to deliver any of our normal services since March of last year because of the pandemic – our earnings just dried up. 

“To survive, we had to make some difficult financial decisions which impacted the team, as well as changing the way we operate to make it more sustainable over the long term, putting marketing and fundraising at the heart of the business and using freelancers and partners to deliver all our services.

“That allows us to offer work opportunities to a wider network of Wrexham’s creative talent who can help deliver our mission, which is to transform the lives of young people through music.”

At the helm of Wrexham Sounds is General Manager Olivia Gallagher, who cannot wait to open the doors this September after an 18-month hiatus.

The 25-year-old has a background in marketing and fundraising and is confident taking a fresh direction will prove popular with referral organisations and families in the region and beyond.

“My main task is to rebuild relationships with clients after such a long break, making sure they understand what we have to offer and the benefits of working with us,” she said.

“We have children and teenagers referred to us from a range of local agencies, from social services to charities and care providers, many of whom have little or no access to any music-related activities in school.

“Those we work with at our new facility or elsewhere will largely be vulnerable or from challenging backgrounds. They may have been excluded from education or be in care, so this could have the potential to make a real difference to their lives, building confidence, giving them the chance to express themselves, gain accreditation and have fun in a safe and welcoming environment.

“And for those who are more interested in music technology there are sessions on recording, production, filming and more.”

Olivia added: “Ultimately, we want to let the people of Wrexham and everyone that supported Vic Studios in the past know that we are back, and passionate about helping children who felt isolated and alone through the Covid-19 pandemic – we are here to serve our community.”

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