Unbelievably, it’s half term already. The new term will be an exciting one for us as we’ll be kicking off our fundraising plan in earnest. Here’s how you can help.

As many of you already know, your children’s membership fees provide us with only 25% of the funding required to keep our 15 youth music ensembles going. Running these programmes allows us to offer:

• 30 rehearsals per year run by BMS professional musician tutors
• A concert each term in the evening centre
• Performances at Brent Makes Music (Wembley Arena) and BMS Junior Fest (in a large Brent venue)
• Other performances at venues such as The Royal Albert Hall, Music For Youth Festivals, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Ealing Festival, Brent Civic Centre, Westminster Hall, TV
• Concert tours abroad (over the last couple of years there have been tours to Liverpool, Italy, Belgium and Germany)
• Heavily subsidised minibus travel across the borough each week for senior ensembles
• Free or heavily subsidised coach travel to concerts and events
• Heavily subsidised tour costs

Now that we are no longer being funded by Brent Council, we need to find the rest of the 75% from somewhere else. Brent Music Service can’t carry on in its present form without this funding, which means that our ensembles are at risk of being disbanded. This is where you come in. To help address the funding shortfall we have established Friends of Brent Music Service, (www.friendsofbms.org.uk) which is in the process of becoming a registered charity. We have a small, dedicated group of parents acting as trustees working on fundraising and building awareness, but we need help from as many parents as possible on this.

We are looking for a parent or carer from each ensemble to lead on fundraising and publicising the work of the Friends for your group. Could this be you? We are especially keen to hear from you if you have experience of fundraising (of any kind, large or small), or if you have a great idea that will raise the money we need. It would be brilliant if you could join the fundraising team too. It needn’t take up too much time and what better cause than helping to ensure we can carry on offering such fantastic musical experiences to the young people of Brent?

We hope you will volunteer to help and look forward to hearing from you, but in the meantime you can help kick start our fundraising campaign by supporting our bid for funding from the Aviva Community Fund – all it takes is a click to vote for us. Please visit this page and give us your 10 votes now. Once you’ve voted, please encourage everyone you know to vote too! Voting closes on 18 November. Only projects with the most votes will go through to the final round.

If you’d like to find out more, please contact Linda Kerrigan on info@friendsofbms.org.uk in the first instance for more details.