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Music Challenge Fund: My Pockets Music

Project evaluations

An evaluation report of My Pockets Music, a participatory music project focused on improving young people’s mental health.

My Pockets Music was one of the four Music Challenge Fund projects funded by Spirit of 2012. It was delivered by My Pockets People CIC between 2019-2022. The evaluation was produced by Glynis Charlton, and a final summary report was produced by My Pockets Music.


Outcome 1: Young people’s mental health and wellbeing will improve.

Wellbeing of participants was measured using the Personal Wellbeing ONS4 measures, the RCADS scale, as well as interviews and observations. ONS4 scores revealed an increase in life satisfaction, feelings of being worthwhile, and happiness, and a smaller decrease in anxiety, though there were too few endline responses for this to be statistically significant. Qualitative evidence supports these scores, with Shaun telling the evaluator, “my problems sort of disappear when I come to the group because it’s distracting. It’s stress relief. When I’m singing about my problem, like with our song, it reminds you about it a little bit, but it also helps you see the the lighter side of it.”

Outcome 2:  Young people will have a voice in and feel involved with their community.

This outcome was measured using the ONS subjective loneliness question, as well as interviews and case studies. The data here suggested that loneliness had increased during the project, although the evaluator noted that Covid-19 likely had an impact on this. Qualitative evidence suggests that the young people feel that the songs they have made are communicating their experiences to both the wider world and other stakeholders that watch them – including teachers, youth workers, social workers and others. Sascha, 15, told My Pockets, “I feel isolated in other areas of my life, I don’t go out too much. Music is quite complex – like, you’ve got to go through the process of making the beat, making the lyrics. And it’s the feeling of being in a group and working on something together, I guess.. you’re not alone, you can communicate with someone else”

Outcome 3: Understanding of how mental health improves

Whilst this outcome proved harder to measure than others, all of the songs produced during the project had mental health as a core theme, and foster understanding in the wider community, but also within families, schools and youth groups. Responses to interviews suggest that the young people involved are able to show the songs to people in their lives and say “this is how I feel”. For example, Mark, 13, told My Pockets, “it allows me to talk about stuff and get stuff out and try to explain things.”

Outcome 4: My Pockets will grow in Hull and East Yorkshire and be better able to deliver Arts and Health projects.

The project My Pockets built partnerships with a number of local organisations including youth clubs, mental health support groups, LGBT groups, and services related to young carers, the criminal justice system, care leavers, and refugee support. They have developed strong relationships, and individuals within these organisations now act as champions for My Pockets’ work. In addition, My Pockets developed their expertise in monitoring and evaluation, including outcomes measurement and analysis, which will be pivotal as they seek to expand.

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