Northern Trust’s employees are actively involved in a community partnership with the RPO, says Naomi Venn.

Image of a mentoring session
A mentoring session

It is not every day that Northern Trust welcomes 100 primary school children to our Canary Wharf offices to perform songs about their identity and future aspirations, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). But that is exactly what the Northern Trust: Music and Mentoring Programme is all about − using creative approaches in music and mentoring to help children in our local community to build confidence, realise their aspirations and open their hearts and minds to the world of orchestral music.

Our volunteering programme … gives every permanent employee across the globe two paid days out of the office

Collaborating with RPO resound, the orchestra’s community and education programme, not only supports our objectives for community engagement, it gives our employees the opportunity to engage with children in a fun and creative environment. Sharing their own experiences through mentoring has given them insights into motivating and inspiring young people. For the children, active participation in music-making offers them unparalleled opportunities for inspiration and insight that stay with them through to adulthood. Their teachers also get an increased knowledge of the power of music to support them on this journey.

The music and mentoring programme comprises three stages and its impact goes way beyond watching world-class musicians tune and play their instruments. Children, volunteers and teaching staff get thoroughly immersed in a completely creative world. As part of the three phases of the programme, our volunteers work with primary school children, ‘looked after’ children, and children with special educational needs. They talk to them about their dreams and aspirations and provide advice and share experiences. Then, the RPO, through a series of workshops with the children, composes a piece of music encapsulating these discussions. The children participate in learning games and, aside from singing along and voting on which parts of the creative pieces they like, can play their own instruments, many of which may be culturally significant. The culmination is a piece of music exploring the themes of identity: ‘Me, myself and I’, which the children perform for their parents, teachers and Northern Trust employees.

Our volunteering programme, Northern Trust Community Partners, gives every permanent employee across the globe two paid days out of the office. Seeing our volunteers take their days out to participate in this programme with the RPO gives me tremendous pride. And it is nice to see it is not just the children performing for Northern Trust who had the widest smiles on their faces.

Naomi Venn is Head of Community Affairs for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Northern Trust.

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