At lunch today with the Mayor of London’s music fund, we heard from Benjamin who had been living with his mother and brother in a rundown hostel after they were made homeless. Benjamin was failing at school, had no friends because he could not bring them home and was deeply unhappy.
Then a teacher put a violin in his hand and the fund paid for lessons. Now 11, Benjamin has passed grade 4 with distinction, is playing in several orchestras and has won a scholarship for maths.
‘I was in love with the violin the first time I picked it up,’ said Benjamin. ‘I wouldn’t have known the joy of playing the violin without the scholarship. My dream is to be a professional violinist.’ His mother, Corinne, described how their family life was transformed. She was able to get a job as a bus driver, knowing that Benjamin was safe at his orchestral practice.
The Fund has helped 400 kids like Benjamin since Boris Johnson got behind it in 2011. Now Mayor Sadiq Khan is backing the scheme with equal vigour.
Music can change lives. We saw for ourselves.
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