Last month Birmingham based Sound It Out, a ‘social development agency’ that develops music programmes for the city’s ‘marginalised individuals and communities’, had 100% of its Arts Council funding cut. A total of £100,000, referred to by the organisation as their ‘core funding’.
In immediate response, local music promoter and entrepreneur Clare Edwards began a campaign to reverse the decision, citing Sound It Out as ‘a crucial organisation that uses music to achieve significant results for the hard to reach’.
‘Sound It Out has a massive impact that cannot be understated,’ says Edwards, ‘it’s done incredible work helping the disadvantaged of Birmingham. Although a lot of its success is in less high profile areas of the city, that’s doesn’t make it any less important.’
Edwards began her campaign with an online petition, but then mobilised support into a ‘singing protest’ outside the Arts Council’s office on Granville St. Supporting the Sound It Out campaign on Granville St was Birmingham based music consultant John Mostyn. ‘(Sound It Out`) literally effect the lives of people on the fringe,’ said Mostyn, ‘bringing light to those stuck in the darkness’. Sound It Out has a portfolio of success working with mental health issues.
Sound It Out were amongst 21 regional arts organisations that lost 100% funding in the Arts Council’s national review, including other music groups Black Voices and Birmingham Jazz. Seven previously unfunded organisations were included in the new national portfolio, including Performances Birmingham LTD, the charity manages and runs the Town Hall and Symphony Hall.
In a written response to the Sound It Out campaign, Arts Council Executive Director for Midlands & South West, Laura Dyer, stated ‘Whilst we (Arts Council) did not feel that we were able to support their application to be part of the national portfolio, we do understand and value the work Sound It Out does… We will be working with Sound It Out over the coming year to support a stable business model.’