18. December 2023

Continued musical collaboration for children and young people in North East England

Kavli Trust continues its support for The Glasshouse International Centre for Music (formerly Sage Gateshead). A £74,000 donation will fund cultural activities for children and young people in the Make Music programme throughout 2024.

It was a windy day in the town
Sky’s grey can’t take me down
It was getting near darker days
Not a smile just a frown


Outside, the sun shines over Gateshead, the town just across the river from the old, venerable industrial city of Newcastle.

But it is here, in a rehearsal room inside The Glasshouse, where big things are happening. Although the song being performed is about a sky full of clouds, the atmosphere is upbeat. The lyricist himself, Mathew, is in a great mood.

SONGWRITER: Mathew (in the middle) has brought with him his own lyrics to the class. Brian (on drums) and Callum sing along. Photo: Hanne Andersen/Kavli Trust

He is happy with the melody that music teacher Dean Moulding has composed for his text, while the rest of the group in this Music Spark class is starting to get a handle on keyboards, drums and the singing.

It is finally becoming a song.

A broad range of experiences

Music Spark is a community programme for young people aged 15-25 years with additional needs or disabilities. It is run by The Glasshouse International Centre for Music, formerly named Sage Gateshead.

Music Spark is a part of the programme “Music for Social Impact”, where The Glasshouse works to include children and young people in a broad range of musical experiences, and to bring about social impact through music.

Ten years of support

As the owner of Primula Cheese in Gateshead, Kavli Trust are supporters of several charitable organisations in the North East. 

For almost ten years, Kavli Trust has supported The Glasshouse’s efforts to create good arenas for empowerment, inclusion and music interest for children and young people.

MEANS EVERYTHING: “Music means everything to me”, says Anna, who is a participant in the Music Spark programme. The class meets weekly to write and practice songs together. This week, Anna brought with her a song text that she wrote for her mother, who passed away only a few years ago. Photo: Hanne Eide Andersen/Kavli Trust

20,000 children and young people

Since 2014, more than 20,000 children and young people have participated in the projects that Kavli Trust is helping to fund.

“Kavli Trust wants to contribute to ensuring that all children and young people have the opportunity to experience, create and also practice culture,” says Rune Mørland, grant manager at Kavli Trust.

“We are very pleased to continue our long lasting collaboration. Real joy of music and creative power on the participants’ own terms is central to Music Spark. The participants experience togetherness and a sense of mastery, while at the same time their families and other supporters get an arena for recharging and relief,” he adds.

AT REHEARSAL: Kavli Trust’s Rune Mørland and music teacher Dean Moulding at the Music Spark rehearsal at The Glasshouse earlier this year.

Provides opportunities for children and families

The Make Music programme for young people aims to increase personal and social development in children from an early age, through the school years and until they become young adults.

There’s a range of classes aimed at young people who do not normally have the opportunity to participate in such activities. Children and young people with difficult living conditions, special learning needs and disabilities are the main target groups.

The programme offers means-tested grants, free access to events and Music Spark.

MUSIC INTEREST: Music is an important part of life for Nicholas (left) and Harry (right), not only when they attend the Music Spark classes. Photo: Hanne Eide Andersen/Kavli Trust

Rich history, many challenges

The region of north-east England has a rich history, known for several eras of flourishing industry, well-preserved neoclassical architecture, a rich art and cultural life, teeming nightlife, and not least several of the country’s best football clubs.

Today, some of Britain’s most economically and socially vulnerable areas are also located here.

In some areas, as many as 38 percent of children live below the poverty line, according to official figures.

Increased living costs and high inflation contribute to increased pressure in a society that is already struggling with high unemployment and family poverty.

Scott Morrison, Senior Development Manager at The Glasshouse, says the support from Kavli Trust over the past nine years – including throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – has made a vital contribution to the charity.

“As a result of Kavli Trust’s longstanding support of our work, we’ve been able to share inspiring and empowering music experiences with thousands of young people in the north-east of England, many of whom are living with financial hardship and/or disability, says Morrison. 

“With our renewed grant, we can continue to plan and deliver our work with confidence and ambition at a time when local young people really need us.”

SINGING TOGETHER: From The Big Sing in The Glasshouse’s famous concert venue, summer 2023. Photo: The Glasshouse

Giving young people a voice

Results from previous years show an increased intake of new participants who previously did not have access to cultural programmes.

In addition, the programme has helped give vulnerable children and young people a voice in society through a lyrics and songwriting programme called Pathways.

Evaluation reports show that the Make Music programme has helped to strengthen belonging and improve life skills, but also increased school participation and wider social networks for vulnerable children and young people.

“This is important to create better living conditions for children, provide opportunities for community participation and job opportunities later in life. We are very proud and happy about what we have achieved in our long-term collaboration with The Glasshouse,” says Rune Mørland.

Writes about his life

The weekly Music Spark session lasts for one hour. In the rehearsal room the group is getting ready to perform Mathew’s song.

But first he pulls out a bristling, blonde wig from his bag and delivers a friendly parody of Swedes, which naturally gets laughs from the Norwegian visitors.

“Listen to the text,” says music teacher Dean.

“It is an absolutely fantastic text. He writes about his life, that’s what it’s about. It’s really, really good.”

Lyrics: Mathew/SPARK
Melody: Dean/SP

It was a blowy day in the town
Sky’s grey can’t take me down
It was getting near darker days
Not a smile just a frown

There’s a king in his castle
flipping burgers all day
It doesn’t matter about the weather
It’s a treat for my teat

Burger King, Burger King
Not MacDonald’s, Burger King

Please take my order, it’s a treat

Like a New York Computer Game
Hoping for clear skies
Getting away from BoBo Bear
Need a rainbow to make things clear

Swing away from spider pig
If you don’t you’ll miss a trick
Chocolate muffins in my wig
Coca Cola sip sip sip

Burger King, Burger King
Not MacDonald’s, Burger King
Please take my order, it’s a treat


The work that Kavli Trust supports consists of the following modules:

  • Pathways: Text and songwriting courses, as well as workshops in music production. The programme is run with local musicians and music producers which helps to include participants in the cultural network in the region.
  • Music Spark: Community programme offering a broad range of musical experiences for young people aged 15-25 years with additional needs and/or disabilities.
  • Loud and Clear: Programme aimed at care experienced children, adoptive parents and foster carers.
  • Big Sing (& Big Sing for Mini Singers): Engages more than 3,000 children aged 4 to 16 in the region’s largest choir every June at The Glasshouse

Read more: Visit The Glasshouse’s website. 

CONTINUING THE COLLABORATION: (From the left) Communication Manager at The Kavli Trust, Hanne Eide Andersen, Executive Director at The Glasshouse, Fraser Anderson, Allocation Manager at The Kavli Trust, Rune Mørland. Photo: Jackie Thompson/The Glasshouse