Charley’s Story

Holsworthy Youth Club is open twice a week, with music specific activities and support provided by Sam Lythgoe Jones (Soundwaves music leader) and Jaz Rogers and Bex Dennis (trainee music leaders). One of the sessions each week is funded through the fund C Youth Music Soundwaves project. Holsworthy is a small rural market town situated in North Devon and many of the children who attend the local secondary school come from the surrounding remote rural areas, having to travel up to an hour to get to school. The Youth Club can offer a range of musical activities, with resources that include a recording studio, a mixing room and a range of instruments and recording equipment to use and learn with.  

Charley is a 15-year-old girl, who has been attending the Youth Club for 2 years. She lives in a tiny hamlet of less than 100 people. When Charley started at secondary school, she felt she didn’t fit in at all, she didn’t have any friends and she started to get bullied severely. The extent of her isolation left her highly anxious and depressed. Her parents chose to move her to Holsworthy Secondary school as well as seeking help from CAMHS. Charley at this time started to attend the youth club. Charley had always enjoyed singing at Primary School and had had a few guitar lessons but had never done anything further. When she started at Secondary School she was introduced to the Ukulele. She had already started writing her own songs and now she was able to teach herself the Ukulele and accompany herself. Things at her new school continued to be difficult and challenging and Charley started to use her music as a way of expressing her feelings and thoughts, some of which were very dark indeed.  

Attending the youth group gave Charley an opportunity to share her music making with others in a non-formal setting. With music leaders who allowed her to be herself, who didn’t judge her and fully supported and encouraged her. Her music tutor is You Tube, her music support network is the Youth Club and the music leaders. From attending these sessions, Charley has gone on to join the local amateur dramatic group and has been given her first lead role. She has also been given her first gig, to play at the local Apple Festival in Clovely. When Charley plays and sings, the room goes quiet and her voice is mesmerizing.  

Charley summed up both the immediate and long-term impact of her musical journey when she said: 

‘Doing something for myself with my music has helped me in so many ways and in doing that I know that I can help others’. 

Written by Vicci Worthy, Soundwaves Project Manager