Here in Ireland we rely on various charities to help support the homeless, from Simon Community to Inner City Helping team, they do an outstanding job. In Scotland, a Scottish start up social enterprise is using music workshops to excellent effect.

Backed with a board of music industry professionals and experts in social activism, Scottish start up social enterprise Turn The Tables have announced plans for expansion after a successful pilot run in Edinburgh last year. With a focus on mixing records, the group – founded in 2018 by Cyrenians volunteer Robbie Tolson – support those who have experienced homelessness by delivering workshops that build mental health resilience through a holistic approach to wellbeing.

The group hope to help support even more people facing homelessness across Scotland and beyond – but they need financial support. An estimated 320,000 people are considered homeless in the UK and this number is expected to rise even further as a direct result of the economic and mental health impacts of Covid-19. Donate to the Crowdfunder page here.

Turn the Tables are also delighted to announce that Bushwacka has become their first ambassador. The legendary DJ – who recently began working as a therapist – has started his own ‘Listen Up Therapy’ to provide therapy and counselling services to people working within the music and entertainment industries.

Bushwacka! said: “From my years djing to working within mental health, there is something about the project that has really resonated with me. I have fundraised for homelessness charities in the past, so it is an honour to be supporting the work that Turn The Tables do.”

The concept behind Turn The Tables was sparked when Robbie, a Heriot Watt Graduate Town Planning and Property Development Graduate from Stirling, signed up to volunteer at Edinburgh’s Social Bite Village homelessness support community in 2018. From here, Robbie successfully set up various DJ workshops for people living in hostels or facing homelessness. The opportunity to learn to mix, operate professional sound and light equipment, and reconnect with the music they love, while socialising in a safe environment, was an invaluable experience for those involved.

Together with Ryan, who was living in a hostel at the time, Robbie performed the first live Turn The Table’s gig at The List’s 2019 Fringe Festival opening party. The gig was so successful they were hired on the night by Diageo to perform on every day of the festival at their Johnny Walker pop-up site. By reinvesting the profits made from gigs into delivering workshops, training and impactful recovery support for members – while challenging the public’s perception of homelessness – Turn The Tables was born.

Ryan, who has remained closely involved with the project since its inception, said: “I’m really keen to help other people who find themselves in the same situation I was in. It’s so nice to have a space to listen to music and play tunes that I like. It was also great to be around people and to have a bit of fun and have a laugh – which is something I hadn’t had in my life for a really long time.
“The project has really helped my mental health and gave me a sense of achievement. Playing in front of 1,000 people was a dream come true for me. Being a DJ and making people dance is just so much fun. It’s a total thrill.”

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