Soho House is launching a new youth music initiative
To mark the opening of Little House Balham, we’re introducing a programme with the charity School Ground Sounds to help young people
Tuesday 23 August 2022 By Anastasiia Fedorova
We often think of talent in terms of individual achievements, a journey one takes alone. But the truth is, no creative is an island, especially in the music industry. Musicians, producers and performers need a supportive community to thrive, especially in the early stages of their career where collaboration is key. With the opening of Little House Balham in south London, we wanted to celebrate the role music plays in the local community by partnering with School Ground Sounds, an organisation that gives young people access to making music and unlocking their creative potential.
‘I started out as one of the young people I work with,’ says Anthony Olanipekun, School Ground Sounds’ chief executive, who has been the head of the charity for a year now. A radio producer, presenter and DJ, Olanipekun grew up in south London. Since his own youth, he has been aware of the role socio-economic issues in the UK plays when it comes to carving out a successful career for yourself, particularly in the music industry.
He studied criminology at university, but ended up having to leave when a run-in with the law landed him behind bars, serving a two-year prison sentence. Upon his release, Olanipekun was determined to focus on his two passions: working with young people and music, and School Ground Sounds was a perfect fit.
The charity is based in Brixton and works with young people aged between 11 and 25, giving them not only access to production and education, but also a sense of greater possibilities through music. Now, Soho House has teamed up with the organisation to introduce the Soho Fellowship programme at Little House Balham. This opportunity will offer 10 alumni access to Soho House and Soho Works to create, connect and work on their journey into the city’s music industry.
Ahead of its first run, we spoke to Olanipekun about the School Ground Sounds mission and his hopes for the collaboration.
What is the mission of School Ground Sounds?
‘Our work is focused on young people who are growing up in areas where they face the risk of getting involved in crime or having issues with drugs and antisocial behaviour – but who are also focused on music and want the opportunity, they just don’t have the access, resources or money. Our job is to bridge the gap and help them find paid roles, work experience, and just get them focused on something that keeps them away from that line.
‘Generally, there are a lot of people in the middle ground who are not A-star students, but they’re not having behavioural issues or getting arrested – although it’s very easy to go either way. They just need some support to get to that next step, and this is what we try to do for young people.’