My Middlesbrough presents

Middlesbrough Erimus rotary are teaming up with a town’s primary school to help youngsters excel in music It follows a recent talk by Ayresome Primary School’s Libby Lavelle when members heard an inspiring story of dedication and struggle against the odds. ]


Geoff Taylor President of Erimus said “Libby Lavelle and her small team have brought music to Ayresome Primary School despite very significant levels of deprivation which place it well within the lowest 5% nationally”.

Many of the families attending the school are not eligible for free school meals as they fall below the ‘benefits radar’, almost two thirds of pupils have English as a second language and over 40 languages are spoken at the school.

“Despite the enormous challenges this brings to a learning institution with over 720 children on their roll a small miracle has been and is being achieved”. Music is a great way for children to express themselves and gain confidence and can open many doors in life.

After listening to Libby’s story members were unanimous in wishing to support this great initiative. Ayresome has a dedicated team of music professionals delivering bespoke music lessons across a wide array of instruments (Brass,Strings,Woodwind,Piano and Voice).

The cost of this tuition is well beyond the reach of a great majority of their families, even more so in the current financial climate. Libby Lavelle commented. “Because of growing financial pressures, in 2013 the school took the drastic step of buying their own instruments and employing a team of peripatetic tutors to deliver lessons. As a result , Ayresome’s music team have been delivering deeply subsidised music provision at just £2 per week. ‘Each child receives an individual lesson every week, joins one of four bands and can take their instrument home for practice. Any repairs which become necessary (and they often do!) are carried out at no cost to the families.

Libby went on to explain that, despite their best efforts at fundraising ,29 instruments are currently lying idle at the school alongside many more would be musicians. The additional cost of tuition to bring sound to the silent musical tools is a little over £4,000. Due to a lack of accessible music ensemble opportunities, Libby and a music professional Josh Bentham set up a charity, MY Middlesbrough running weekly Saturday band sessions at St Barnabas Church Hall with many children from the school past and present taking part.

Children progress to take grade exams set by Trinity College London. Last year 11 children passed their grades and this year the school are entering twenty candidates. Bare figures disguise the extraordinary efforts to which this group of teachers and tutors seek to bring the joy of music to a greatly disadvantaged group of young children.

In a follow up Erimus members were unanimous in their praise ,admiration and support for Libby’s team and will endeavour to take their support to a practical level. People wishing to assist the Ayresome music project can do so through

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