Frank Turner and The Joe Strummer Foundation are heading back to Freetown, Sierra Leone!

On January 13th 2019, we return to Freetown as part of our continued support of WAYout Arts, an organization that has been helping to change the lives of street youth since 2008 using the medium of music and film. The Joe Strummer Foundation has been supporting this fantastic initiative since 2012 when we helped install and set up a recording studio.

Frank and friends' successful last visit in March 2017 aimed to encourage and inspire young people to play musical instruments. This was a chance for us to see first hand what our support has been able to realize and give us a glimpse of what can be achieved in the future.

We took guitars on our backs and helped teach the young people of WAYout how to play them, as well as the drums and bass. Their thirst for learning was infectious. We visited some of the poorest communities in the world and talked with them, saw their way of life, their struggles, their hope. We made music with them, played football and set in motion an outreach project on an abandoned runway and made many new friends.

The Next Round(trip)

One of the intensions of this follow up trip is to purchase a vehicle and studio equipment in order for WAYout to be able to reach more young people in Freetown and the provinces.

We aim to raise £10,000 by the end of November 2018 to cover purchase of vehicle, shipping and mobile studio equipment.

Hazel Chandler, WAYout Arts co-founder details how our visit will help and details some of the things we will do: “Specifically, having a mobile studio and video unit means we can reach people who are completely off the beaten track and never have visitors, national or international, with nothing to do, very high unemployment, farming barely feeds you, high domestic abuse as a result of frustration, very low literacy, no awareness of rights etc because no access to TV, radio and so on. These are forgotten places, but with amazing creative energy and enthusiasm. It will also give an opportunity to some of our Studio 2 trainees who are now quite experienced and looking for ways to show what they can do. They are already visiting surrounding areas in our vehicle, and freeing up space in their studio for others to learn.”

Frank’s previous first visit had a massive impact on WAYout members. When someone perceives themselves to be worthless and invisible to the world, to have a visit, however fleeting, from someone who is internationally renowned, helps them feel that they do matter, they are capable of something. Their communities saw them in a more positive light, no longer as losers and they were motivated to achieve and “show Frank when he comes back” what they have been doing. In a world where your life might be snuffed out at any time due to rubbish piles falling on you or simple illness you cannot afford to treat, a visit from someone of stature can give hope, determination and acceptance.

Fundraising efforts will centre around a fantastic raffle of these awesome items generously donated by Frank, and a call to arms from The Joe Strummer Foundation who will be coordinating the trip.