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United Border's crime-fighting bus back on the road with new partnership with Sonos

PUBLISHED: 09:37 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:39 01 May 2019

United Borders offers more than music production from its new bus thanks to Sonos partnership. Picture: Brunel Johnson

United Borders offers more than music production from its new bus thanks to Sonos partnership. Picture: Brunel Johnson

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One year after an arsonist burnt out a Harlesden charity founder's travelling music studio a new bus is back on the road.

United Borders has partnered with Sonos so music delivering can grow. Picture: Brunel JohnsonUnited Borders has partnered with Sonos so music delivering can grow. Picture: Brunel Johnson

United Borders, which aims to unite warring gangs, has signed a pioneering new partnership with Sonos UK.

The partnership, part of the music giant's social impact program Sonos Soundwaves, enables United Borders to continue delivering quality studio production, music therapy workshops, well-being activities such as Yoga, knife safety classes and mentoring for at-risk young people who are vulnerable to the dangers of gang activity.

Justin Finlayson, founder and chief exec of United Borders, said: “We're always excited when we can find a partner who understands and celebrates the work of our tireless educators.

“Sonos' clear passion for music is a great fit that will help us raise awareness about the need for music therapy and creative outlets.

Young people make music from United Borders new bus. Picture: Brunel JohnsonYoung people make music from United Borders new bus. Picture: Brunel Johnson

“Following the devastating fire that destroyed the bus last year, it's great to be back up and running with amazing equipment and support from the likes of Sonos.”

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Justin set up his charity in 2017 in response to the death of James Owusu-Agyekum, a 22-year-old student who was gunned down outside his home in Tynsdale Road in 2016.

He bought a red London bus and converted the upper deck into a recording studio, installing desks, USB plugs and a plasterboard studio booth at the front.

Justin Finlayson, founder of United Borders. Picture: Brunel JohnsonJustin Finlayson, founder of United Borders. Picture: Brunel Johnson

Picking up gang members from Church Road in Harlesden in the morning and Stonebridge gang affiliates in the afternoon, but soon warring factions stayed on the bus, messing with the decks and making music together.

On April 25 last year his bus was burnt to the ground.

Then on January 2 his son, Rico, was stabbed multiple times and miraculously survived.

Justin told this paper his son's attack was a “random violent act” adding: “These young people who were affected by their thoughts did this to my son. They just tried to kill a child for no reason.”

Shakira Payne, communications and sustainability for Sonos UK said: “We're thrilled to partner with United Borders in helping us achieve the greater goal of supporting the next generation of creators and innovators to thrive.”

Deji Olukotun, Sonos' head of social impact said: “Every child deserves the opportunity to reach their creative potential. It makes for a richer, more meaningful life.”

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