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Early Hurly Burly

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A unique delivery partnership between local authority library services and music education organisations across the West Midlands

Early Hurly Burly was initiated by the members of a consortium who were invited by Arts Council England's West Midland bridging organisation, Arts Connect, to discuss the possibility of making partnership applications, specifically to support programmes of early years music-based provision throughout the West Midlands.

This unprecedented gathering included representatives from Library and Cultural Services, Music Education and Performing Arts Services and Music Education Hubs in Coventry, Dudley, Herefordshire, Sandwell, Stafford, Telford, Walsall, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, together with independent community music charities Make Some Noise in Stafford and The Music Pool in Herefordshire, and was supported by Arts Connect.

The first phase of Early Hurly Burly ran from September 2014 to September 2015, during which time, approximately 540 sessions were delivered. The aim of EHB is to work collaboratively to address the need to deliver Early Years music and arts engagement to hard-to-reach children and their families.

The areas participating in the project were; Coventry, Dudley, Herefordshire, Sandwell, Staffordshire, Telford, Walsall, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.  In total 23 libraries across these 9 areas participated by working in partnership with arts practitioners and partner organisations (for example Children's Centre) and hosting or co-ordinating Early Hurly Burly sessions.

Typically each library held approximately 10 sessions during each term (Autumn, Spring and Summer).  Collectively, approximately 537 children and 449 parents attended these sessions.  In addition each library had one visit per term from a range of professional performance companies, who performed theatre and puppetry shows designed for pre-school groups.  Participants feedback from these performances and from the sessions highlight their popularity.

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The Early Hurly Burly project then continued in to a second phase, and we are very happy to announce that phase 3 is in the planning and soon to begin! It's now supported by a grant from Arts Council England, with contributions from all the partner areas around the region.   

Feedback from participants

"Early Hurly Burly has improved my daughter's confidence and her interaction with other children.  I think it is a fantastic service which has been really beneficial to us as a family"


"My child has enjoyed the classes a lot.  Her language/social skills/concentration has improved... which must in some part be due to these classes."


"Seeing a couple of the children who used to be very shy and would not move off their parents' knees, now leave their parents and join in with activities etc, not only was I really pleased to see this but the parents were as well."

Library staff

"Both myself and Harry have so enjoyed the Early Hurly Burly session.  The songs we have learnt will stick with us and are sung most days and we have gained lots of ideas for making up songs at home.  We have done other music sessions but EHB is by far the most original." 


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