In-Spire Sounds are making a Christmas album with young carers from across Oxfordshire

Christmas has come early at Makespace Oxford as residents have been gently serenaded with Christmas carols coming from behind the doors of the Inspire Sounds recording studio. In this blog, Kingsley Pratt-Boyden explains why, and how you can support them.

Recently, through local charity Be Free Young Carers, we’ve been working with an incredible group of young carers to produce a Christmas album.

Be Free Young Carers is a great charity supporting young people who have the difficult job of caring for a family member. Due to massive cuts in health budgets, there are more and more cases where young people have had to take on the responsibility of looking after family members. Studies show that half of the 700,000 young carers living in the UK will work for at least 4 hours every day during their summer holidays when their friends are able to play and relax.

Having to care for others has a huge impact on the lives of these young people, making socialising and studying even more of a hurdle than it already is. It creates a huge barrier in their live’s that affects their prospects of doing things like going to university and taking up hobbies. Sadly, they are a demographic of people that are often overlooked.

In-Spire Sounds is a new charity, and recording studio tucked away upstairs at Makespace Oxford and set up by members of Inner Peace Records, a Local Hip Hop collective. Many of the Inner Peace Crew work in youth work with existing charities in Oxford including the MuzoAkademy, 7c’s foundation, Ark-T and CDI. We are super happy to have been able to invite some of the young people that Be Free Young Carers are currently working with into our studio this week to make their very own Christmas album. We have been told that the 18 young people taking part are all very excited to be able to take the day off from looking after their relatives, and to join in with something like this.

We want to do much more work like this but to do so, we need your help.

There are some amazing organisations in Oxford that teach music, help people form bands, conduct holiday programs and run courses. However, we noticed there was one thing missing, the final stage where people can access a professional recording studio while learning how to produce their own music.

Most musical provision in Oxford is focused on classical music and traditional instruments. There is  great value in this, but we also believe it requires a reasonably privileged position to be able to take up a classical instrument so we aim to encourage people who would not otherwise be able to access these to come and learn  how to  make music using more accessible methods. This  includes using free software and cheap digital instruments. We also help with the other aspects of the music industry such as how to book a gig, how to contact promoters and how to produce merchandise.

To develop our capabilities and help more young people access music, we are currently running a crowd-funder. Please do consider donating if you can and pass on to others who might be able to help.