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New charity, VoxThrive opens music lounge at Berkshire Youth’s Waterside Centre, Newbury

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The Waterside Centre will be alive with the sound of VoxThrive as the musical charity sets up base in Berkshire Youth’s hub.

The newly-established organisation, which was founded in July last year, unveiled its new music lounge on last month – a place that is set to be a safe creative space for young people to harness their skills.

The VIP reception was attended by trustees, charities and Newbury mayor Billy Drummond, where VoxThrive members had the opportunity to tell everyone what they have been working on “behind the scenes”.

Ribbon cutting at VoxThrive, Waterside Centre. Picture by: VoxThrive
Ribbon cutting at VoxThrive, Waterside Centre. Picture by: VoxThrive

Colleen's Kitchen, based downstairs in the Waterside Centre, provided refreshments as the group looked around at the charity's new venture.

VoxThrive, working in partnership with Berkshire Maestros and Berkshire Youth, held an open mic night on the evening of its opening to celebrate its new beginnings and showcased local young talent in the Waterside Centre’s main hall.

The partnership came about after VoxThrive founder Kate Penn had seen the newly-renovated Waterside Centre, and had the same interests and goals as music company Berkshire Maestros.

With the same goal in mind, they struck up a partnership to provide young Newbury-based individuals with musical opportunities.

Ms Penn called the event “pretty loud but in a good way” and said: “We held an open mic event that young musicians in the area could book to come and perform at and it was a huge success.”

The open mic night “encouraged young people to be brave” in what she described as a “professional environment but safe environment”.

The young performers, who each had 15 minute slots to sing and play instruments of their choice, could also have a look around at the facilities that they could potentially use in the future.

Ms Penn, who also runs choirs, added: “The mayor of Newbury came to open The Music Lounge for us and watched the young people perform.

“We told him what we were able to do and get him on board with what we were hoping to offer. He’s such a smiley and happy guy with real positive vibes. It was really nice to have him there.”

The charity founder also stressed the importance of having facilities like this in order to provide young people with a space to express themselves and create music in a way that they may not otherwise be able to.

She said: “After the last couple of years [young people] have had an important need to have a space for music. Music makes you feel better.

“We are here to give young people a space to use that creativity without the pressures from school or from having younger siblings. Some people can’t make noise at school or at home.”

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