The Master Cutler to Bring the Joy of Singing to Hundreds of School Children

7th March 2024

The Master Cutler Charles Turner DL is challenging us all, particularly companies in Sheffield and South Yorkshire to demonstrate their entrepreneurial flair and community spirit to raise funds for charity through this year’s Master Cutler's Challenge

Since being initiated by Past Master Gordon Bridge in 2015, the Master Cutler’s Challenge has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities. Everyone who takes part is given £50 by the Master Cutler and is challenged to use their entrepreneurial and fundraising skills to grow this amount for charity. This year, funds raised by the challenge will allow school children in deprived communities to take part in fun musical activities and experience the joy of singing through a new Schools Singing Programme.

 “I am delighted to be able to support Sheffield Cathedral’s Schools Singing Programme and to help build a legacy that gives the gift of music to young people in this region for years to come.” said Charles. “Singing inspires and crosses cultures to bring beauty from the air we breathe. As such, it is like manufacturing in that it brings quality products from raw materials with the skill of the craftsman. Both are vital to this region and in the Company of Cutlers’ 400th anniversary year I am delighted to help the cathedral to raise the aspirations of young people and deliver life changing opportunities for the next generation.”

The cathedral’s Schools Singing Programme is a pioneering project for Sheffield and the South Yorkshire region. The programmme is being led by Tom Daggett, the cathedral’s new Director of Music. Tom joined the cathedral 9 months ago from St Paul’s Cathedral in London where he successfully delivered similar programmes to thousands of children in some of London’s most deprived inner-city communities. 

“We all know of the social, emotional and wellbeing effects of singing. It makes us happy” says Tom. “For children singing can be a safe place to turn to when feeling down but it also helps them to make friends, to develop the confidence to stand taller, to sing louder and to have the self-belief to overcome challenges in life. Childrens’ faces light up when they sing! Sadly, too many children across this city are missing out on the joy of singing because schools do not have the resources to give their pupils meaningful musical experiences. This is why this programme is so important and will make such a positive difference to childrens’ lives through opening their minds to what they can achieve.”

So far, the programme is only being delivered in a handful of Sheffiled schools because of the limited funding available but its transformative effect is already clear to see. “Engaging with this fantastic new programme has been a wonderful experience for all our children and staff” explains Matt Sierczkarek, Headteacher of Prince Edward Primary School in Sheffield. “Children in our school don’t always get the same cultural opportunities other children may have but now, more than ever, being able to enjoy singing every week is enriching their lives. There is no other programme in school that makes our children feel so included, fulfilled and euphoric!”

Master Cutler Charles Turner is hoping the funds raised through his challenge will help improve life chances of hundreds more children, especially those living in more disadvantaged areas. He says, “I encourage all companies, organisations and people to sign up and get involved in this year’s Masters Cutler’s Challenge. Together we can raise hopes and aspirations and transform young lives forever.”

Information about the cathedral’s Schools Singing Programme and participating in or donating to the Master Cutler’s Challenge can be found by visiting Sheffield Cathedral’s website www.sheffieldcathedral.org or emailing music@sheffield-cathedral.org.uk.

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