Friends of Highland Music to launch £5,000 youth fund

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A Highland music charity is launching a new funding scheme to help and encourage young musicians, students and groups in the study, performance and promotion of Scottish traditional music, song and dance.

The Friends of Highland Music Youth Fund 2019/20 is a ring-fenced fund of £5,000, which is open for applications from young people aged up to 23 years old, based in the Highlands or Western Isles.

Friends of Highland Music was established for the advancement of education and interest in Highland Music and Culture.

Moira Leslie, chairwoman of Friends of Highland Music, said:  ‘We exist to promote traditional music skills in their many forms from fiddle to clarsach, to Gaelic and Scots song and step dancing, and we want to encourage more young people to come to us for support to develop and maintain those skills in fun and creative ways.

‘This fund can help with fees for tuition and residential courses, but we would welcome applications for more innovative projects, from individuals and groups alike. This is a first for us, and so is very much a pilot scheme, but if successful, we hope to repeat it.’

Friends of Highland Music has supported traditional musicians for many years, including Rachel Campbell of Astar School of Traditional Music, Gaelic and Highland Culture in Inverness, and talented young piper Kyle Cameron, who has received several grants from the organisation over the last few years, enabling him to attend high profile events across the country. This is the first time they have created a fund specifically targeting young people.

Grants from the youth fund will be given towards meeting the cost of specific expenditure related to the advancement of the applicant’s knowledge, experience and development in the field of Scottish traditional music, song and dance. The usual grant giving capacity of Friends of Highland Music to its’ members will not be affected, and the charity continues to welcome funding applications from people of all ages.

Friends of Highland Music was originally known as Friends of Balnain House -formerly the Home of Highland Music and now owned by the National Trust of Scotland – and based there until 2000.  Other initiatives by the charity include A Tune for You – musician and Friends member Eric Allen’s fundraising tune-writing scheme.  Eric has now composed over 260 tunes and raised around £16,000.

Youth Fund Grants can be applied for between now and August 31.  Youth Fund 2019/20 Grant application forms and conditions can be found on the Friends of Highland Music website www.friends-of-highland-music.org

Membership of the Friends of Highland Music costs £10 (family) or £5 (individual) annually; to find out more visit www.friends-of-highland-music.org