I first met some of these young people when l covered a visit to Bath by Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey MP. He told a group of young carers – being musically tutored by members of Bath Philharmonia -that he had been in their position too.
So it’s good to hear that an Orchestra of Young Carers from Bath and North East Somerset were able to travel to Westminster to perform music created with Bath Philharmonia to an audience of MPs, Peers and music industry professionals at the House of Commons.
The performance was part of an event, organised at the invitation of Wera Hobhouse MP, to celebrate the work of Bath Philharmonia and the incredible impact of music-making on young carers. The event was attended by Shadow Minister for the Arts Barbara Keeley MP, Baroness Bonham-Carter, and Liberal Democrat carers’ champions Wendy Chamberlain MP and Munira Wilson MP.
Bath Philharmonia is the only professional orchestra in the UK that delivers a year-round transformational programme of creative music-making residencies for Young Carers. Since 2009, Bath Philharmonia has enabled over 1500 Young Carers from across the South West and beyond to co-create and perform their own music.
Jess, a 12-year-old Young Carer said, ‘Normally, I just don’t know how to express myself and I just try and get on with my life. The music helps get it all out. I can’t believe that we got to go to Westminster, and everyone there thought our music was fantastic!’
Jess is one of almost 800 young carers supported by The Carers’ Centre (Bath and North East Somerset). Its dedicated young carer service provides essential emotional support and activities enable young carers to take a break from their caring role.
Jason Thornton, Music Director of Bath Philharmonia said, ‘Music is a powerful tool that can help us cope with all kinds of emotions and we’d like to enable as many of the 800,000 young carers in the UK as possible to discover their own creativity through great orchestral music.’
Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, said: “It was an absolute privilege to welcome Bath Philharmonia’s young carers orchestra into Parliament. These incredible children treated us to an inspirational afternoon while raising awareness of the challenges they face and how music can help them overcome these barriers.
“Too often, young carers are overlooked in national plans, and I am committed to supporting them in music education settings nationwide. These brave young people give so much and deserve opportunities to relax, develop, and find time to make friends, all through the power of music.”