Thu, 30 Apr 2020
MUSIC teacher Mike Hawthorne is putting his skills to good use by fundraising for local good causes.
He is raising the profile of smaller local charities by playing covers of well-known popular songs on his You Tube channel that viewers can play along to and talking about each charity's work in an effort to raise funds for them.
Mr Hawthorne said: "It was my wife's suggestion. A fun way to give guitar students some extra things to learn with and to hopefully raise some money for local good causes at the same time."
Mr Hawthorne started the project at the end of March, recording the songs in his motorhome outside his home in Hermitage.
The father of three explained: "I've had very little experience in doing videos, so I was a bit nervous to start off with. Most of the videos on my YouTube channel were just last minute recordings of songs, or freestyles on my guitar - all very amateur - so I was sort of starting from scratch.
"It's been quite a steep learning curve and I'm gradually working out how to get things looking and sounding as good as possible.
"Each video has a link to the chord and lyric sheet posted in the information and I give a little explanation about how I'm going to play it so if anyone is watching with a guitar, they can have a go at playing along."
Apart from the fun of playing along, the main aim of this project, says Mr Hawthorne, is to raise awareness of smaller local charities, which he says "are in need of funds now more than ever".
He has put up a profile on The Good Exchange, which is linked to several charities, including Dingley's Promise, Spotlight UK and The Greenham Trust Coronavirus Emergency Appeal.
In addition Mr Hawthorne has a 'charity focus' each week, when he plugs smaller organisations by talking about them before playing his music.
"I have chosen to prioritise local or small charities, as they don't get anywhere near as much funding or support as the really big ones. So far he has promoted Dingley's Promise, the Hermitage Covid-19 Hardship Fund and the West Berks Community Baby Bank.
Kayleigh Powell from the Baby Bank said that Mr Hawthorne's promotion of the charity had an instant impact.
"We needed six travel cots/beds for the West Berkshire Women's Aid charity," said Mrs Powell. "They were on our Amazon wishlist and within 24 hours of Mike promoting our charity, we had 10 beds to pass on.
"It really was amazing and made such a difference to be able to help those in most need - and quickly."
Mr Hawthorne was delighted by the response and to be of help: "It's proof to me that a bit of publicity can go a long way to help smaller charities."
He added: "I am really happy that people are giving me lovely feedback letting me know that they are enjoying the videos and, in some cases, having fun playing along.
"More importantly however, the wider reach I can get with these videos, the more I can raise awareness and gain exposure for the charities I'm supporting.
"The lifeblood of small charities is awareness, as that's the only way they can get the funds and donations that they so desperately need.
"I would like to keep this going until all this is over and probably beyond that. After all, charities - especially small ones - need help regardless of what's going on in the world, and if I'm in a position to help them, I will."
Mr Hawthorne is currently promoting Fairclose Day Centre.
If anyone has a charity which they'd like Mr Hawthorne to focus on for a week, you can contact him via Facebook - @MikeHawthorneMusic, or Twitter - @MKGHMusic.
To see more videos search for Mike Hawthorne Music on YouTube.