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Published in Band News on 2014-04-07 by Empty Chairs

More news from Grimethorpe Colliery Band

Plusnet donates additional funds for the second time, to help music education programme of Brassed Off band

Phone and broadband provider, Plusnet, has stepped for the second year running in to give its support to the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, allowing the band to continue its great work in the community and help grow talent in the area.

The band, based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire has been a bastion of the local community since it was founded in 1917 and achieved global fame in 1995 when it was the inspiration for the hit British movie, Brassed Off, which starred Ewan McGregor.

Last year the band’s fate echoed scenes from the film as funding cuts left them in danger of being unable to carry out its vital work in the community. Following feedback from its online community and local residents, who have long associated Plusnet with the brass band used in its advertising, Plusnet stepped in and offered a donation to support Grimethorpe Colliery Band’s schools music programme. One part of what they do is teaching local children at Birkwood Primary School how to play brass band instruments.

Since Plusnet’s donation life at Birkwood Primary has changed dramatically. As the profile of music within the school has been raised pupils are now reaching the standard necessary to take music exams – a first in the school’s history.

This is the second donation to the music programme from Plusnet, which has its headquarters in Yorkshire and prides itself on being a people’s champion. The funds will be used to ensure the continuation of the band’s youth education scheme which will ensure 15 pupils between the ages of 8 and 11 at the Birkwood Primary School will have the opportunity to take specialist music lessons.

Showcasing just how valuable the programme has been to pupils at the school, class teacher and school music co-ordinator at Birkwood Primary School Esther Sutton Smith said, “Children at Birkwood Primary are now aspiring to be musicians and getting ready to take their first music exams which is incredibly exciting for us! Beyond the obvious musical advantages we are actually seeing an increase in children’s self esteem, especially for those who are not as strong in other area. It’s wonderful to see them take such pride in their achievements. We’re also noticing a real sense of engagement with the community as local people flock to watch the children perform, for which we are very grateful.”

Tegan, aged 10, a pupil at Birkwood Primary School commented, “I play tenor horn, and things that I learn in my music lessons help me concentrate during lots of my other lessons.” Whilst nine year old Joshua added, “My brass teacher inspires me to concentrate.”

Headteacher of Birkwood Primary School, Julie Allen expressed her appreciation to Grimethorpe Colliery Band and the generosity of Plusnet to enable these wonderful opportunities to take place.  She is very proud of Esther's dynamic leadership and of course the children's efforts and dedication.

Andy Baker, CEO of Plusnet commented, “Last year our online community called on us to help Grimethorpe Colliery Band continue its work with the community. The plight of such a traditionally Yorkshire institution made it an easy decision, and we are continuing to support them for a second year. It has been a real privilege to hear how Birkwood Primary School and the children are flourishing under the band’s teaching. We are proud to continue to fund next year’s programme.”

Grimethorpe Colliery Band Manager, Nigel Dixon added, “It’s encouraging to know there are companies like Plusnet out there, ready to step up and show support for their local communities. With this further injection of funding we hope to do Grimethorpe proud as the crop of talent at Birkwood Primary School develops through the music programme.”

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