Circle of Light to orchestrate music career opportunities For hundreds of young people

Published on: Monday, 12th February 2024
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A Nottingham-based music and wellbeing project has been awarded further funding to allow them to expand to work with young people and partner organisations further afield.

The Circle of Light programme is now into a fifth year of providing opportunities for those aged 16-25 looking for pathways into the music industry. 

Youth Music has awarded the groundbreaking project another £150,000 for the next three years to work in Mansfield, Leicester, Corby, Birmingham and Newcastle. 

Early music career support, mentoring, work experience, industry relevant qualifications and employment opportunities are all in the mix as well as a youth-led Circle of Light tour. 

Tiffany Jade Holland - original COL member - is on the leadership team working with young people to ensure COL continues to evolve and meet their needs today.

Tiffany said: “Young people want innovative opportunities that give them access to real life experiences and what is more real than planning and then actually touring part of England with a group of artists you just met?!”

Young people interested in music are encouraged to sign up for the free year-long programme of opportunities including the chance to create the famous Circle of Light album in just two weeks this summer.

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to:

  • Contribute to the next COL music album, to be released on the COL record label
  • Access a series of creative workshops and mentorship
  • Record in the ‘HOAM’ music studio at the Old Bus Depot, Nottingham
  • Gain industry recognised Rock School (RSL) qualifications for free
  • Work alongside some of Nottingham’s leading artists
  • Perform live as part of the national COL tour
  • Join the COL development network and connect with a pool of local artists

Circle of Light has already forged a legacy winning the Youth Music Original Track Award with the all female FORM group for their track Confused. With the four women coming together on the first ever Circle of Light in 2019 thinking they were ‘going to be backing singers’ to the male rappers on the project, this soon turned around as they were encouraged and inspired to explore their own voices and creativity. 

Five COL members have gone on to successfully secure NextGen funding from Youth Music to take forward their own creative project, while two of the original cohort now work directly for Youth Music. The Youth Music NextGen Fund offers young creatives grants of up to £2,500 to make their ideas happen.

Sam Scott, Youth Music, said: “Circle of Light (COL) is a brilliant project that has continued to go from strength to strength over the last five years. The impact and legacy COL has in supporting the creative development and progression of young people is inspiring, and it’s been great to see COL participants go on to win awards, take on leadership roles, and successfully receive NextGen Fund grants to continue developing their creative practice.

“Added to all of this, COL has been an exciting, supportive and meaningful platform for young people to collaborate together and produce incredible music. COL is a real incubator of the next generation of talent, and Youth Music are delighted to continue supporting the project.”

Kicking off with a Jam weekend this month at their Old Bus Depot base in Nottingham, the next stage will see groups of young people from Nottingham attend an Industry Day in Leicester - organised by HQ Studios and TIME UK on 16th February. 

A six week course of music production workshops and Jam sessions is being launched 21st February, with more events and workshops to follow. 

The partner organisations are Inspire Arts (Mansfield); Amplify Sounds (Birmingham); Standing Upright (Newcastle); HQ/2Funky (Leicester) and The Core (Corby). They will be running their own COL projects running in parallel, and the groups will be exploring ways to integrate and collaborate based on the needs and ideas of each location. 

COL is working to tackle underrepresentation in the music industry and particularly encourages all women and non-binary people of all backgrounds and experiences to apply. 

To find out more and to apply for this year’s Circle of Light, go to You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.

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