News 26 February 2024
Author: Alex Griffin

Help save grassroots radio station REPREZENT

26 February 2024

Youth Music, a prominent charity dedicated to nurturing young musical talent, has sounded the alarm on the dire funding situation endangering grassroots music initiatives nationwide.

The urgency comes as REPREZENT, a leading youth-led community radio station, launches a £50,000 crowdfunding campaign to sustain its operations and broadcasts.

The campaign, endorsed by Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective and DJ Annie Mac, aims to secure essential funds to safeguard REPREZENT’s future. The station, renowned for introducing over 40 new presenters weekly and spotlighting countless emerging artists annually, faces imminent closure amidst a decade-long onslaught of government cuts to youth development programs. These cuts have slashed local authority spending on youth services by 77%, resulting in the shuttering of numerous youth clubs and the loss of thousands of skilled youth work positions.

REPREZENT’s impact extends far beyond its broadcast waves, nurturing the careers of notable artists like Stormzy, Jamz Supernova and Munya Chawawa. However, with youth services facing unprecedented strain, the station confronts an uncertain future, threatening the aspirations of young talents seeking a foothold in the music industry.

Shane Carey, Founder and CEO of REPREZENT, emphasizes the urgency of the situation, saying, “We’ve got a longer waitlist of applicants than ever before… We don’t just want to raise funds to keep our doors open to them; we want to raise awareness of the threat that many organisations like ours are facing.”

Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music, echoes Carey’s concerns, highlighting the broader crisis gripping grassroots music initiative, “REPREZENT’s plight is not isolated… Like many projects, they’re creating a pipeline of talent for a more inclusive music scene. It’s vital that people understand the impact of funding cuts.”

The “Save REPREZENT” crowdfunding campaign seeks support for essential programs including training initiatives, work experience opportunities, on-air support for presenters and mentorship for disadvantaged youth.

With the future of grassroots music at stake, the campaign aims not only to secure immediate funding but also to raise awareness of the critical role such organisations play in shaping the music industry’s future.