Music project award boost

Phill Knight and Jayne West, owners of 21:12 Music Community at Wigan Pier, and members who have just taken delivery of new amps
Phill Knight and Jayne West, owners of 21:12 Music Community at Wigan Pier, and members who have just taken delivery of new amps

A WIGAN grass-roots music project is on a prestigious award shortlist for its pioneering work.

The 21:12 Music Community, founded at a site on Swan Meadow Road last year, is in the running for a National Diversity Award for its commitment to helping disadvantaged and vulnerable people through the power of art.

The project, set up by drummer Phill Knight and partner Jayne West, has been placed in the category for community, multi-strand organisations. The pair are now hoping that a flood of nominations from Wiganers will persuade the judging panel to put them through the next round of the awards later this month.

The top three organisations from around the country will then be invited to a prestigious grand final in Leeds in September.

Phill said: “We were incredibly surprised to receive the email saying we had been shortlisted, we really had no idea our small grass roots community would get to this round.

“The award really helps us to build up the credibility of what we are doing and get our name out there. We’re not only providing affordable and fully-equipped rehearsal facilities, addressing the financial barrier faced by musicians, but helping to form bands and running therapy pilots and schemes.”

The creation of 21:12, named after a song by Canadian prog-rockers Rush, has seen a group of derelict offices transformed into low-cost rehearsal studios and a performance stage, helping young up-and-coming bands struggling to afford to rent space to rehearse to take their first steps into the music industry.

The community has also taken its work out and about in the borough, with projects including drum therapy workshops for people recovering from drug and alcohol addictions and Memory Lane, a band of young musicians which plays old classic tunes for care homes’ residents and Wiganers suffering from dementia.

There will also be a 21:12 contribution to the latest exchange between Wigan and its French twin town of Angers this month, with a stage in the town centre showcasing musical acts from the other side of the channel.

The National Diversity Awards celebrate organisations which promote inclusion and equality in society, helping everyone in the community achieve and better themselves. To nominate 21:12 or learn more about the awards, visit www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/#/community-org-multi-strand/