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Harlesden’s youth steel orchestra marches on to Notting Hill Carnival

PUBLISHED: 16:15 25 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:25 25 August 2017

Candice Falconer, Dylan Mitchell and Patrick McKay from the St Michael's & All Angels Steel Band with Stuart Watkins from Mobile Mini. Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

Candice Falconer, Dylan Mitchell and Patrick McKay from the St Michael's & All Angels Steel Band with Stuart Watkins from Mobile Mini. Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

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Harlesden’s award-winning youth band is marching on to the Notting Hill Carnival this Bank Holiday weekend thanks to the donation of a secure storage container for its kit.

St Michael and All Angels Steel Orchestra collect their award for Best Band on the RoadSt Michael and All Angels Steel Orchestra collect their award for Best Band on the Road

St Michael & All Angels Steel Orchestra, crowned Best Steel Band on the Road at the world famous carnival last year with its rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, hopes to repeat its success on Sunday and Monday.

The youngsters have been practicing in Mahogany Carnival Arts in the High Street following the steel band’s eviction from the church in Hillside, Stonebridge, last October, where it had been based for 20 years.

But the St Michael’s Youth Project (SYMP), which runs the orchestra, urgently required storage for its steel pan musical instruments and other musical equipments.

SMYP members contacted Mobile Mini, a company which hires out portable site accommodation and secure storage containers, desperate for some help.

St Michael and All Angels Steel Orchestra    Pic credit: Jonathan GoldbergSt Michael and All Angels Steel Orchestra Pic credit: Jonathan Goldberg

They were delighted to be told they could receive a storage container free of charge, for six months, through its community involvement programme, and have been using the service since May.

Candice Falconer, from SMYP,said: “Mobile Mini really has provided a shelter in a time of storm for us, as having the container means after months of uncertainty, we are slowly putting things back in order and we have somewhere safe and secure to store our equipment and instruments.

“The company has enabled our survival in what has been a difficult time for us.

“We’re looking forward to playing in the carnival Sunday and Monday.”

In 20 years SMYP has grown from a Saturday music programme, to running 365 days a year and has worked with over 250 children. The project aims to raise the self-esteem and self-worth of children and young people aged 8 to 25 years, through educational, musical, recreational, personal development and leadership activities, in order to improve their life chances and better prepare them to recognise opportunities and take advantage of them when they arise.

Stuart Watkins, South Ockendon sales executive for Mobile Mini, said: “Community involvement is an integral part of our business, so we were delighted to be able to help out Candice and the children.

“St Michael’s Youth Project is such a great cause and we wish the orchestra the best of luck at this year’s Notting Hill Carnival.”

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