Two children aged 12 and 14, from The Mile Cross area, are raising money for Sistema in Norwich, a local children’s charity.

In June, Alisha Cleverly (14) and Kayleigh Lane (12) of the Mile Cross area of Norwich spent 8 days rehearsing and performing in an Orchestra in Sweden, with children from all over Europe. This was part of El Sistema Sweden’s summer school, Side by Side, which Alisha and Kayleigh were able to take part in thanks to funding from the European Union. The SMEEC Project (Sistema Inspired Music Education and Exchange with Canada) has supported children going to Italy, Sweden and Canada. Part of the worldwide Sistema movement, Sistema in Norwich works with children and young people from areas of need, to help them realise their potential and succeed across all areas of their lives through learning to play a musical instrument and being part of an orchestra.

On returning to Norwich from Sweden, Kayleigh and Alisha decided they wanted to organise a sponsored walk and community picnic fundraising event, to give back to the charity that has provided life-changing opportunities for them. Within days of setting up a Virgin Giving page (click here to donate), the two girls had raised £615.00, and are now appealing for more people to get behind them. The initiative has inspired people from around the UK to donate and Julian Lloyd Webber, founder of Sistema England, has spoken out in support of these young musicians.

Lloyd Webber said: ‘I am delighted by the initiative and the determination shown by Kayleigh and Alisha. These girls have seen the positive effect that music has had on their lives, and are working to make sure that more children can benefit from Sistema in Norwich. I congratulate them for their generosity and resourcefulness, and I am confident that they will continue to make wonderful music and to inspire everybody around them.’

Kayleigh’s said, “Hi, thanks for visiting our page. Me and my friend are in a group called Sistema in Norwich which is part of the NORCA community. We are now in the summer holidays and we both wanted to do something with Sistema but we can’t. So I thought well why can’t we do something for Sistema as they have changed our lives so completely. We have never been able to thank them enough and never will be. But we wanted to do something for them for once and came up with the idea for raising money. We want to raise a lot of money. Please go to our Virgin Giving page and share it so we can get more and more donations. I’m 12 and my friend is 14. I play the Cello and she plays the Violin. I’ve been playing for 6 years and my friend has been for 5 years. Please support us. We are gonna try and walk as many miles as we can. Thanks”.

The date for the community picnic has been set for the 30th of August and will be held at Waterloo Park. Kayleigh and Alisha would like to invite everyone to join them, bring along a picnic, listen to live music and raise money for the charity that helps young people like them achieve their potential.

Sistema in Norwich is an independent programme run by Norfolk & Norwich Community Arts (NORCA).

To make a secure online donation, visit Kayleigh’s and Alisha’s page.