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Tesco grant provides much-needed upgrade for youth band's rehearsal room

Posted on 29 November 2017

Royal British Legion Band & Corps of Drums to have heated rehearsal room for first time in 55 years thanks to Bags of Help funding

The Royal British Legion Band & Corps of Drums Romford is a youth marching band based in Romford, Essex. Currently in its 65th year, the band is one of the longest running youth bands in the country - and with around 70 members aged between 9 and 16, it’s more popular than ever. But the band’s long-standing rehearsal hall hasn’t aged quite so well. So the group was thrilled to receive a £4,000 grant from Tesco Bags of Help to give the facilities a much-needed upgrade.

The band has given generations of young people from the local area the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, develop new skills and have the exciting experience of performing at high-profile events. With 10 World Titles awarded in global music contests, the band represents Great Britain at various events across Europe. Recently, the band’s members have had the chance to travel to Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Romania, as well as performing on television programmes such as The One Show and Tonight at The London Palladium.

The band has been rehearsing and holding concerts in Richardson’s Hall for 55 years. But the hall has never had built-in heating, which has led to some very cold rehearsals during the winter months. The band currently uses an industrial gas blower heater, which requires people to get to the hall early to turn it on ahead of the rehearsal. Apart from being inefficient at heating the room, the heater is very noisy: its roaring can occasionally be heard over the top of the band!

The grant from Tesco Bags of Help will help upgrade the hall with a new heating system, so that the rehearsal room will be warm all year round. The band will be able to spend more time focusing on the music, rather than on setting up their gas heaters, and will be able to hold rehearsals and concerts without worrying about the freezing temperatures.

Band director Ian Yeoman B.E.M. said:
“At present we struggle with attendance during the winter months, since many of the young people are reluctant to turn up and rehearse in a freezing cold room. Having proper heating will make such a difference.”

Drum major Jordan Dejoodt said:
“The band has given me so many opportunities. I enjoy performing as well as the social side: I probably see these guys more than I see my own family! It will be great to have a warm band room, especially when we’re rehearsing in the run-up to the busy Christmas period.”

The Tesco Bags of Help scheme takes the money paid for plastic bags in stores and puts it into grants that benefit local communities. Millions of pounds have been given to a wide range of projects.

If you have a project that benefits the community and would like to apply for up to £4,000, please visit www.groundwork.org.uk/tesco

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