The West Midlands is the second most populated region in England. It is the second most ethnically diverse part of the UK, after London, and is the second youngest region in the country, with 19.5% of its population under 16.
Urban areas face high levels of social deprivation and the situation is worsening: Birmingham’s proportion of neighbourhoods in the most deprived 10% nationally grew by 0.4% between 2010 and 2015. At 7%, Birmingham has one of the worst unemployment rates of all cities in the country.
The Black Country has high levels of social and cultural deprivation – Birmingham, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall all rank within the top 20 most deprived Local Authority districts in the country.
The region has the highest working-age population with no qualifications in England. It has the second highest levels of child poverty in the country, with 30% of children in the West Midlands living in low income households.
Growing up in a military family has sometimes made life extra challenging for Beth and Jack. The Connect-Create project has helped them develop musical skills, make new friends and meet other young people in the same situation.
Young people from the Changing Trax project in Coventry were at the heart of the city’s successful bid to become UK City of Culture for 2021.
The Power of Music
The Power of Music is a project run by 7E Youth Academy in Birmingham, working with young people at risk of getting involved with gangs, or even being targeted as recruits by extremist groups.
SWITCH is a band made up of young musicians from the ‘mac makes music’ project in Birmingham. Watch this video for their song 'Switch on Your Happy Side'.