2019 Fundraiser Gala Speech

9th May 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen, a very warm welcome to all of you here tonight and thank you so much for joining us in support of Restore the Music UK.

Tonight’s Gala is of huge importance to us, not only because it gives me the chance to elaborate on the “vision” of Restore the Music UK but also because it enables us to truly convey the impact and significance of funding music for every child.

From Day 1 it was clear that the very existence of Restore The Music UK was a necessity – not an option – we shouldn’t exist, but sadly we have to. Funding cuts from central government have led to less opportunity, and a school curriculum where music is often the first to suffer.

We fight this by giving grants of up to £20,000 to eligible state schools and work closely with them to help rebuild their music provision. So far, we have awarded £700,000 worth of funding directly to 39 schools which gives us a reach of over 27,000 children.

You will be hearing from some of those young people here on stage shortly but, before you do, I just want to take a moment and tell you about the impact of our funding on the social landscape.

Our application process begins with a Pre Grant Assessment meeting with me, the Principal and Head of Music of a potentially eligible school – the first measure of that being that they have above average levels of Free School Meals and Pupil Premium students – that in itself means a household income of no more than £16,190 per annum.

And so, over the past few years, I have crossed London, travelling to all ends of the Tube map. I have walked down streets at times in fear of what lay ahead, only to remind myself that these are the very streets that our young people are walking along each and every day – and they are overcoming huge obstacles to do so just so that they can get to school and receive what we decree to be the best preparation for their future journey in life.

With that in mind, how can it be deemed acceptable for 85% of young people to have simply given up on music and for less than 10% of them to take Music GCSE.

Let’s be clear – the UK music industry is a powerhouse, punching well above its weight, worth over £4B to the UK economy and producing the greats – the likes of which are known all over the world. And yet – the foundation of this powerhouse is crumbling. This is what we need to change.

We all know that Music is a lifeline – it not only reaches the parts that other subjects can not, it also reduces stress and depression, it strengthens memory and reading skills, it enables multiple processing and promotes bonding with others; but , more than all of that – music makes you happy.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, in today’s world, where young people are facing overwhelming issues of isolation, deprivation and poverty, that ability to tap in to a universally understood language of music is the much needed antidote in a world of bleak aggression and negativity.

We are delighted to be joined tonight by some of the Principals and Heads of Music from our Grantee schools and what they can all boast of is the thrilling sound of a music department that is without doubt the beating heart of their school.

A place of refuge, laughter, excitement, creativity and happiness – the path to the door of their music departments is followed by many kids – excited as they are by the opportunity to embrace their passion for music with all the tools needed for this that we can afford to provide.

So, what are we doing to provide that?

I have said already that Restore the Music UK has now awarded over £700,000 worth of grants for music provision in state schools which means we are helping over 27,000 kids get access to life changing opportunities through music in their school.

So now, by the end of 2019 we want that figure to be reaching £1,000,000, and for that we need your help

So, last year’s Gala Dinner raised £95,000 and allowed us to fund 5 schools across London. But tonight’s target is to raise £150,000 and fund another 10 schools. This would mean a total reach of over 35,000 young people – in other words, half the size of the crowd at LIVE AID, back in 1985, when Freddie Mercury gave his legendary and electrifying performance of Radio Gaga.

The truth is that we have all had enough of waking up to the heartbreaking headlines, day after day – endless tales of nonsensical violence and jaw dropping cruelty that belies all sense of humanity and justice. This is our opportunity to fund the future – to turn the negative in to the positive and to make sure that all young people are getting an equal chance to access music and take their lives to a level otherwise unattainable for them.

It is not in any way an exaggeration to tell you that Restore The Music UK funds music. But the simple truth is that Restore The Music UK funds life.

Thank you for joining us tonight – please give generously and have a wonderful evening!!

For further information, please contact CEO Polly Moore on polly@restorethemusicuk.com.

Please donate to Restore The Music UK via our Justgiving.co.uk page.