11-13 year-olds: Make music and get active with The Big Red Bus Club this summer

power up flyer

Charlton’s Big Red Bus Club has been busy branching out recently – its latest venture is into summer sessions to help 11 to 13-year-olds rebuild their confidence through music and fun after a shattering 16 months. The club’s ANNIE DREWRY explains more…

March 16, 2020 was, for many children, simply the day the music died. For those kids that didn’t already have instruments at home or access to private online lessons, music simply disappeared.

In Charlton, like the rest of the country, music education not only came to an abrupt halt. Not just the lessons ending, but the community music programmes such as the after-school drumming clubs or choirs that were as much about friendship as they were the performances that resulted from them.

For your average 11-year-old, the summer is full of music. It’s when you head down to Primark to pick up your outfit for your final primary school disco, or the nervous excitement waiting to find out if you’ve got a song in your final school play. It’s endless practising for your final year assemblies, and the sharing of playlists among friends – the friends that you will leave as a memory of your childhood as you move to secondary school and make the friends that will see you become an adult.

The Big Red Bus Club has always believed in the power of the arts to build our community in Charlton, whether it be two toddlers sharing finger-painting or the mums in our Baby Blues Choir raising awareness of maternal mental health through performance. We know friendships are built when we create together.

So this summer, we are putting on two free programmes for Charlton’s 11-13 year olds.

Pump it Up, a week-long series of music workshops culminating in kids creating their own track and recording it, and Power Up, a whole week of activities ranging from pottery to engineering activities specifically for girls.

Last year was hard. At the Big Red Bus Club we want to bring the music back into kids’ lives, help them make local friends and to hang out and just be kids again.

You can help by letting local kids know that we are here.

Pump It Up: Monday 26 to Friday 30 July, 11-4pm, music workshops including singing, percussion and composition with a whole range of local artists.

Power Up (girls only): Monday 2 to Friday 6 August, 10-3pm, wellbeing workshops including pottery, yoga, engineering and a day trip.

To book for either free programme, visit thebigredbusclub.com/summerschemes.


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Big Red Bus Club wins grant to keep lockdown storytelling sessions running

Big Red Bus Club, Charlton
The doors are closed but the storytelling goes on

Charlton Park’s Big Red Bus Club has been given a grant to help it keep its volunteer programme running for another year – including its online storytelling sessions for families stuck at home during lockdown.

The charity, which runs the under-fives’ play centre off Cemetery Lane, was awarded £6,825 from the housing association L&Q’s Place Makers Fund.

Since the coronavirus emergency began, its volunteers have been running daily live storytelling online for local families with a range of activities and songs. These run every weekday at 1.30pm.

The club also offers career development support for its volunteers, aiming to support those kept out of the workplace through being a parent.

Its chief executive, Annie Drewry, said: “Big Red Bus Club and the families we support are facing uncertain times. L&Q support means we can carry on and keep supporting families and children so they don’t feel so alone and isolated even though they are living in isolation. We urge local families across Greenwich to join our online community of activities that L&Q support has kept alive.”


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Coronavirus in Charlton: Log on for Big Red Bus Club’s online storytelling sessions

The Big Red Bus Club next to Charlton Park has had to close its doors because of the Covid-19 outbreak – ending its stay-and-play sessions for under-fives.

But yesterday it began storytelling sessions online, so you can keep the little ones entertained.

“Join the Big Red Bus team online at 1.30pm every week day for songs & stories and to share our best stay at home activities, as we experiment with going online.

“Our first story Peace at Last, read by Annie, follows poor old Daddy Bear and his nocturnal adventure trying to get some sleep in the noisest house in the world!”

Charlton’s flat-dwellers might be able to identify with that.

Daddy Bear’s adventures were yesterday’s story, so there’ll be something new today – head over to The Big Red Bus Club website to find out how to take part.

If you’re doing something special to help local communities get through the Covid-19 crisis, drop us an email and we’ll try to feature it on the site.