Tell me about what you do?
At BlastBeat we provide experiential learning programmes for young people and families going through social and emotional behavioural difficulties. We believe it is vital that they gain access to knowledge and new opportunities through a proactive approach. This is achieved by schools/ partner organisations identifying these individuals and then we adjust to their needs. We look to focus on their passions rather than their deficits. Participants can then take part in various activities while learning financial literacy and social enterprise as a way to give back to their community in a sustainable way. Our most popular package is the battle of the bands style programme – students start with no capital; and find artists, find venues and a social cause to support. The programme fits with BTEC Music and BTEC Business courses. We look to fix the parts which schools/ other services can’t reach, going beyond the externalities in order to focus on the intrinsic motivators. Our participants demonstrate their strengths and improve their confidence from within. This leads to enhanced CVs, access to University places and employment.
What is your proudest achievement?
I am proud of the people I work with daily, their attitude and their support for this vision is uplifting – because they have turned their lives around. The large number of individuals we have helped to overcome so many issues is another achievement we are extremely proud of at BlastBeat, enabling individuals to create their own opportunities and demonstrate their strengths. Jermain Jackman winning the BBC “The Voice” 2014 contest is also a proud achievement. BlastBeat have been mentoring Jermaine since 2011 in London, so we look forward to bringing similar success to Sandwell. We even create 3D-CVs for those with sparse qualifications to help them stand out more.
Tell me about any experiences you have had with SCVO?
As we are relatively new to SCVO we have not had much experience with them. However, we have been aware of their vision and this has helped us to access good practice and sustain this throughout our work. SCVO website is a source of a lot of information.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from working with people in Sandwell?
The young people/ adults we work with have the passion and desire to achieve great things. However, they haven’t had the platform to demonstrate their strengths and showcase their talent. As a result, we believe it is important to inspire individuals and provide them with experiential opportunities.
What are your plans for the future? Any challenges you face?
At the moment we are seeking ambassadors that are passionate about young people, education, social enterprise and problem solving. We would like to work with local authorities to co-create and co-design more experiential learning programmes to solve problems (part of our Think-Feel-Do philosophy). Importantly, we can create hands-on learning experiences almost anywhere.
The main challenge to our cause is an issue of infrastructure. There is a lack of access to youth friendly facilities in Sandwell, especially in neutral spaces/ venues (non-faith, non-school) for example, theatre and event spaces.
How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future, SCVO could certainly support BlastBeat by keeping us connected. Helping us to build partnerships within Sandwell and gain access to funding support. We also believe it is important to get MPs and businesses involved by putting their faith in the local community. As a result, we would like to see SCVO help to raise awareness of what we do and get more influential figures involved in our vision.
For more information please visit www.BlastBeat.org