RNCM receives transformational funding to boost music education in west Cumbria

The RNCM has secured a transformational philanthropic gift from the Benny Walker Charitable Trust to roll out its award-winning music education programme RNCM Engage for school aged young people in Cumbria, with a focus on Allerdale and Copeland.

The North of England’s only Royal Conservatoire, the RNCM trains 1,000 undergraduate and postgraduate music students each year. It is proud to be leading the way to drive change in music education and secure the future pipeline of young people able to study and enjoy music.

RNCM Young Brass Students

This hugely significant investment (over five years), will launch a new five-year project in partnership with Cumbria Music Hub, part of Cumbria County Council. Born out of collaboration and co-curation, the project will develop a suite of inspirational opportunities for children and young people, giving them enhancing access to a high-quality music education and training.

The RNCM will boost the provision of music education and engagement for under 18’s, providing access to a programme of world-class tuition, tailored support and CPD for teachers based in Cumbria. With RNCM students playing a key part as mentors, tutors and role models we will also be developing their skills and experience, encouraging them to feed back into the professional music education landscape, not least those who come to study at the College from Cumbria.

The RNCM is passionate about young people’s musical opportunities. RNCM Engage west Cumbria will take forward a bold and distinctive vision that sees young people explore, experience and enjoy music unhindered irrespective of their background or personal circumstances.

Marion Hinds, Lead for Cumbria Music Education Hub says: ‘This is such good news for children in Cumbria and the whole music and music education scene. Cumbria Music Education Hub brings together organisations and works in partnership to deliver the best music education for children and young people and this investment will not only be a model of best practice, but enable us to make a step change in ensuring local young people benefit from the best possible music education.’

Professor Jennie Henley, RNCM Director of Programmes says: ‘Through our RNCM Engage programme, we are already helping thousands of young people as they explore their talent and love for music. This funding will enable us to increase the impact of this work, addressing barriers to musical education. West Cumbria is rich with musical talent, and we are excited to support the young musicians from this area.’

Rhiannon McKay-Smith, RNCM Director of Development says: ‘We are so thankful  to have received what is the most significant philanthropic donation the RNCM has received in recent history and it will be transformational for the musical lives of children and young people in this area. We all know what a powerful force music has on society and we want to inspire and enhance young musicians’ music learning so some of them can see a future career in music.’

Cllr Sue Sanderson, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for Schools and Learning: said: ‘This is a fantastic project and I’m delighted that young people in Cumbria will be able to benefit from it. Cumbria Music Hub does excellent work around the county and teaming up with the RNCM in this way is sure to have a huge impact. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this work will achieve.’

21 March 2023