Nottingham youngsters produce mental health rap for Volunteers' Week

Talented volunteers at the Community Recording Studio in Nottingham have produced a rap showing how volunteering has helped them to improve their mental health. 

Ashley, aged 21, Lishon, aged 20, and Malik (MK), aged 19, created the rap to celebrate Volunteers' Week, which runs from June 1-7 and recognises the invaluable contribution that volunteers bring to their community. 

Called Psychological Soldier, the track explains how volunteering has enriched their lives, improved their mental health, and boosted their confidence. 

Ashley, who began attending the Community Recording Studio aged eight, said: "It  feels safe at the Studio and you can talk about things there. They encourage you, nurture you and help you understand yourself. They've also taught me to use equipment and play instruments. 

"It's been a lifeline, my confidence has improved, I'm less anxious and have friends who understand where I'm coming from. Volunteering for others is not just for others but also for oneself," he added. 

Ashley, Lishon and Malik are all volunteers at the Community Recording Studio's Windmills project which, using cash raised by Comic Relief and the #iwill Fund, works with young people in St Ann's, one of Nottingham's most deprived inner-city communities, to create a Hip-Hopera using hip hop, rap and spoken word to raise awareness of mental health. 

Rachael Flanagan, a co-ordinator at the Community Recording Studio, said: "As a charity, without volunteers like Ashley, Lishon and Malik we would find it harder to be able to do what we do for young people free of charge." 

The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £40 million joint investment from the Big Lottery Fund, using National Lottery funding, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.