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Bands work together to find solutions

Published in General on 2013-06-28 by Empty Chairs

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The Northern Regional Brass Band Trust last week hosted a Funding Network meeting for local bands. The informal get-together, in the inspiring and historic Redhills Miner's Union Building in Durham, gave bands a chance to share news, talk about current challenges, and learn about new funding opportunities.

The Northern Regional Trust was founded in 1974 to improve the standards and standing of brass bands in the Northumberland, Cumbria, County Durham and Tees Valley areas. Amongst various supportive activities, the Trust works to find ways to make a difference to brass musicians in the region. Events range from James Stretton's workshops, which introduce local schoolchildren to the world of brass, to a conducting course for the more advanced, and anything in-between. The Funding Network get-together was arranged as part of their commitment to partnership working to benefit brass bands.

The event was facilitated by Brass Band England's National Liaison Officer, Rachel Veitch-Straw, who also shared the latest information about local and national funding sources, as well as updating bands about alternative income-boosting possibilities.

The biggest challenge in the Northern Region at the moment, possibly even eclipsing that of funding, is that of attracting new players. There are several different plans in progress to change this. The Trust is now directly linked with the eclectic Brass 2013 International Festival ( and will soon be piloting a “flash flood” marketing campaign in the town of Spennymoor, leafleting, canvassing, and publicising learning opportunities at Spennymoor Town Band.

A spokesperson told Empty Chairs: “The Network Meeting was really useful. It was great to speak to other people as enthusiastic as we are, and to know that we are not on our own. It’s good to know that Brass Bands England are just at the end of a phone and can come out and support bands in this way.”

The next BBE Network Meeting will be hosted by Jaguar Landrover band in the Coventry area, followed by others in the North West, Hertfordshire, South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

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