Music project needs funds to play on

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Crowdfunders on Mull need £5,000 to keep making music on the island.

Mull Music Makers suffered a major blow when its main funders turned down this year’s bid.

So far donations via crowdfunder.co.uk/support-mull-music-makers are halfway to reaching the target needed to fund the rest of the academic year but only have until next month to smash it.

The Mull Music Makers project was set up in 2013 to increase musical opportunities for the island’s youngsters because music provision is limited and finding teachers can be difficult.

Project leader Laura Mandleberg said being turned down by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative (YMI) was ‘unexpected’.

‘This is a major blow. It is the first time we have been unsuccessful in receiving YMI funding in five years,’ she said.

The project brings tutors to Mull every month to help children learn music through song, movement, performance and violin/fiddle tuition, as well as getting them ready for performances and competitions. Last year some of the children were given the opportunity to perform a concert on the mainland with Nicola Benedetti.

Unless the £5,000 goal is reached, the project’s core funding will run out in April and disrupt more than 40 students’ music education. It makes up 15 per cent of Mull’s primary school population.

The next workshops were planned for April 27 and 28 and June 1 and 2. The summer school that has run for more than 30 years as part of the Mendelssohn on Mull festival would also be affected.

Ms Mandleberg added: ‘We are extremely keen to keep things going. Any longer gaps or irregularity of lessons would be detrimental to the children’s learning and would place years of building up momentum, continuity and motivation at risk.

‘It would also be especially sad not to be able to run the summer school, which has been running on the island for more than 30 years as part of the Mendelssohn on Mull festival. The summer concert always gives everyone a tremendous sense of achievement, which brings everyone back after the summer holidays with a real confidence boost.’

Mull Music Makers have been recommended to re-apply for the next round of YMI funding but it would come too late.

‘We have had a good indication that we will be successful second time around but even then funds won’t become available until September 2019 at the earliest. We now have a funding gap between April and September and need to raise funds quickly if we are to keep things going,’ said Ms Mandleberg.

Within days of setting up the crowdfunding page, 41 supporters including Mull Linedancers had donated £2,800. The page will stay open until April 4.