Onstage - Josie Whitely and the band Folkus.  Front - Emma Prince and Elizabeth Tolson.

Onstage – Josie Whitely and the band Folkus.
Front – Emma Prince and Elizabeth Tolson.

The EnRich Charity Ceilidh held at the weekend proved to be a warm and friendly night out – despite the cold, icy weather, and the Metrodome proved to be the perfect venue for the first big fundraiser organised by the Charity.

Special guests at the event were the family of Silkstone Common’s Emma Prince. Double Bass player Emma, 16, is the first recipient of an EnRich grant. In true Oscar-winning style she was unable to attend due to commitments to play in a concert but her mum Diane Prince accepted the cheque on her behalf. She is pictured (front left) receiving the cheque from Elizabeth Tolson, mother of Richard Tolson (Rich T) who is the inspiration behind the Charity.

Emma recently successfully auditioned at the Royal Academy of Music in London to play Double Bass for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYOGB). It is thought she is the first ever young person from Barnsley to be offered a place in the Orchestra. The NYOGB is the most prestigious youth orchestra for 15 to 19-year-olds in the UK and this year a record 750 young musicians applied for very limited places.

Emma has an impressive CV and worked her way up through a number of local orchestras including Stainborough String Orchestra, Oakwell String Orchestra, Silkstone Common School Orchestra, Wentworth String Orchestra and Barnsley Youth Orchestra before becoming a member of the National Children’s Orchestra and Halle Youth Orchestra. She is currently Principal Bassist with Chethams Symphony Orchestra.
She has performed with Julian Lloyd Webber and even performed for the Queen during the Diamond Jubilee events in 2012.

EnRich has awarded a grant to cover half the cost of travel and accommodation which is needed to allow Emma to take up this exciting opportunity.
Emma said: “Having the chance to be a part of the NYOGB is a great stepping stone towards becoming a professional musician. I am really very happy that EnRich has agreed to help me pursue my dream”.

Chair of Trustees Josie Whiteley said: “It can be really difficult for people from the North of England to benefit from such opportunities and to succeed within the classical music industry as getting to London is so expensive.

“We are confident Emma has an amazing career ahead of her and we will be following her progress carefully as she inspires other young people to follow their dreams”.
Josie added: “There has been a fantastic response to the Charity since we started fund-raising. We have had generous donations from Barnsley Round Table, Barnsley’s Masonic Friendly Lodge, fund-raising activities at Barnsley College, music gigs organised by Alternative Barnsley, money donated from individual fundraising efforts such as a 10k run and the auction of a Baby Grand Piano. We have even had a significant anonymous donation”.

Emma said: “I hope my successful application will encourage others to also ask EnRich to support their creative ideas, it is so brilliant we have a charity like this in Barnsley and I’m very proud to be the recipient of their first-ever grant”.

It is fantastic to see this first grant being given out. While we still live in a time of cuts and the axing of funding to the arts by central government, northern towns and cities face a tough time ahead when it comes to being significantly equipped to support an enriched and varied cultural offer to the general public. It also makes it much harder for those individuals who want to achieve, to find the funds to do so.

All the money raised by the EnRich Charity enables EnRich to help performing arts and creative arts activities in the town by offering financial support. Anyone studying or living in Barnsley can apply to the Charity to request support and should email in the first instance with an outline of their idea. You can follow EnRich on facebook by following

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