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Brentwood centre supporting young artists hopes to expand musical services to include more of the arts

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 November 2019

A band performing at the Hermit in Brentwood. Picture: The Hermit

A band performing at the Hermit in Brentwood. Picture: The Hermit

Archant

A Brentwood charity that supports young artists with their music is exploring broadening its services to include more of the arts.

The Hermit Club in Brentwood is hoping to expand its service to include more of the arts. Picture: Tony MorrisonThe Hermit Club in Brentwood is hoping to expand its service to include more of the arts. Picture: Tony Morrison

Since 1960 The Hermit Club Community Interest Company (CIC) has existed as a youth provision service to help people between the ages of 12 to 19 learn and create music.

Co-director Tony Morrison said: "It's all about giving opportunities to young people.

"We try to develop the projects with the kids and in conjunction with their ideas.

"The focus for many years has been on music and it's always been about talent development.

"What we're planning to do now is to open up our provision to other art forms because not all of the kids we engage with are necessarily into music."

The Hermit already works with the Brentwood Operatic Society to provide weekly musical theatre acting classes at the centre in Shenfield Road.

Tony co-directs the centre with Dave Green and Peter Sills.

Peter runs the Rock School every Saturday and he worked hard to ensure that The Hermit Club could continue after Essex County Council cut the charities' funding.

The centre continues to receive support from the Essex Youth Service, but all of its activities are funded by donations and fundraising projects.

Participants don't need to own a musical instrument to take part in an activity at the centre.

Tony said: "All you have to do is turn up.

"That's the idea with our informal jam sessions on Fridays. It means that the kids who can't afford the instruments can join in too.

"It's been nice seeing kids from other areas come and make new friends and it's been a real success for The Hermit Music Club."

The club is now trying to raise enough funding to make the jam sessions a bi-weekly event.

"All of the work we do, we have to fundraise for it," said Tony.

"I always say, every town in Essex needs a Hermit Club."

Tony's advice for any young people who are interested in learning how to play a new instrument is to simply come along to the centre and have a go.

He said: "You've got nothing to lose.

"The beauty of the [Friday] music club is that it's completely informal.

"If you don't want to perform the first time, then that's fine and you can just watch.

"The kids are very supportive. If we know it's your first time, then regardless of the quality, you will get a good response."

Visit the hermit.co.uk to find out more.

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