Following discussions with local bands in the Sheffield area, it was suggested that collaboration might be a way forward that would enable bands to flourish. Liaison Officer Rachel Veitch-Straw, with assistance from members of interested bands, set about establishing the Sheffield Brass Network as a community group.(Unincorporated organisation)
There are 12 bands with Sheffield addresses, of which 10 are regular network participants. By working together, bands will
- offer collaborative, fun, musical learning opportunities to young or new players from the 5 training bands,
- offer new musical workshops to all musicians in the network
- attract new players and support from the Sheffield area
- offer creative projects connecting with the local community
- share in a practical sense, i.e. music, players, conductors, buying power and more.
The development of the Network has the support of Sheffield Music Hub, which is invaluable.
After an initial meeting of representatives from interested bands, the first event was a funding network meeting hosted by Loxley Silver, where, in a social atmosphere, the bands shared funding experiences, learned about the latest funding opportunities and news from Brass Bands England, and heard in more detail about the idea of the Brass Network.
After only six months, the Network had been represented at a Grimethorpe Besson Youth Workshop and a volunteer project co-ordinator from Stannington Brass Band was working on making the most of the Tour de France’s 2014 Yorkshire launch. Further practical collaboration includes: the conductor of Woodhouse Prize Band developing a website (www.sheffieldbrass.net) and running Social Media accounts, Loxley Silver Band’s Marketing Manager creating an information leaflet and promoting the network, Trustees from City of Sheffield (Unite the Union) Brass Band, the Sheffield Arts scene and Brass Bands England, a local music professional volunteering regarding youth development, Stannington and Loxley Training Bands working together, and researchers and administration volunteers from Chapeltown Silver Prize Band and Escafeld Brass.
The Sheffield Brass Network trustees are now in place, a constitution is finalised and bank account opened. Following discussions at the Network Meeting, the initial focus includes youth and music workshops. The committee will continue to consult with bands regarding shared aims and how they want the network to develop.
Achievements from Project
- Change of outlook
- Improvements to governance and leadership
- Identification of areas for development; e.g. welcoming rehearsal facilities
- Funding strategy
- Regular consultation
- New opportunities identified and developed
- Sharing of good practice
- Third Sector Café Runner Up Award for Collaboration 2013
- FUSE award for trustees training to the value of £350