September 24, 2013 by Greater Manchester, News, Salford

Annual Salford Showcase 2013 hits the high notes at the Lowry

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation Annual Salford Showcase 2013 took place at the prestigious Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester today.

The event celebrated the work of the Foundation and their participants which, with the help of the Big Lottery Fund, works with vulnerable young people aged 14 – 19 in Greater Manchester providing positive meaningful activities in the arts and media fields.

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Over 100 especially-invited guests crammed inside Studio 1 to see the showcase kick off with a ‘Street2Street’ dance performance followed by participants’ very own musical show entitled ‘One Community – Our Community’. The musical show highlighted, through live music – produced by Foundation participants – song, poetry, dance and drama many of the issues young people face today which included discrimination and prejudice.

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Hair, make-up and nails were looked after by Foundation participants, many of whom had gained a variety of skills and qualifications in Salford whilst attending sessions.

The showcase concluded with the presentation of Dance Tutor, BTEC and GCSE accreditation and qualification certificates to those involved and which were also earned through the Foundation, with the performance of the show itself also counting towards further qualifications.

Nathan, a young participant who produced the music and DJ-ed at the event, said:

“I’m not very good at expressing myself verbally so I express myself musically and since I was eight (years old) I’ve always been musically involved. I was told about this Rio Ferdinand Foundation project so I came down, liked it and kept coming.

“After talking with everybody involved ahead of the event I made the tracks on music software which I learnt how to use on the project under the guidance of Diego and Diamond (tutors) – it took quite a long time to be honest but next year I will be able to do it myself.

“Everyone did their part today really good – the dancers were really good as well.”

Michelle, Rio Ferdinand Foundation Ambassador said:

“I was nervous myself about performing but I had to make sure the young participants were relaxed as we’ve all put a lot of hours into it, even when we weren’t at the project; in our spare time we’ve all been going over the routines at home.

“It was important to do a show that highlighted the issues we all face so it is helpful for the young people to know that there are things they can get involved in whilst helping different communities and backgrounds to mix.

“We hope to start our own dance group and come back with a bigger and better showcase next year.”

Rio Ferdinand, Founder and Trustee of the Rio Ferdinand Foundation said:

“Unfortunately I could not attend the 2013 showcase due to my club commitments but from what I heard this year it was larger and louder!

“This is great news as the showcase highlights the wide range of talent, passion and hard work of the young people we work with and the Foundation team who work incredibly hard to manage it and they need to take the credit for our success.

“I am very passionate about my Foundation and will be looking forward to engaging with all the work that is taking place in 2013 – I would like to say thanks to everyone for all of their hard work to make the event a success and I would like to single out the Big Lottery Fund particularly for their support to make us bigger and brighter over the next three years.”

Sharon Jones, Funding Officer, Big Lottery Fund said:

“The Big Lottery Fund is all about changing peoples’ lives who are in most in need and young people is an area that we are particularly interested in so to come and hear from the young people about some of the issues they are facing in person and to see how the project has really helped them is important – you can’t beat that – we can really get to understand what the issues are because we’ve seen it first-hand.

“The arts are a great tool to engage young people, to get them off of the streets and then to give them skills they can take forward in life and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and their network create something that is more sustainable and make things happen beyond the life of the grant.

“I came to the showcase last year and the improvement in confidence and self-esteem since then is just immense. It’s not just about the skills they are learning but it is about those transferable skills and it is just so noticeable in some of the young people which did it last year compared to this year. I was really, really impressed. It was good to see how far they have come.”

Kevin McMenamin, Trustee, Rio Ferdinand Foundation, said:

“This is now our third event over a two-year period and I’ve seen what it has done to the young people and how they have grown in stature, confidence -they seem a bit more courteous, a bit more confident in life are happier, more together as a group and they’ve taken an awful lot out of this.

“It’s really rewarding to be part of this as a Trustee, especially when you see what the carers, the parents, the providers and staff get out of it and what the young people get out of it. The confidence goes across the board too – when you look at the Rio Ferdinand Foundation staff who are training these young people on a regular basis, they are seeing the fruits and they get confidence too.

“We’ve got to speak to potential sponsors, people that want to give donations and with support from the likes of the Big Lottery Fund who have helped us immensely, we are keen to do more and cast our net even wider.

“Rio is talking to other people, we are talking to other people and I think the Foundation will broaden even further.”