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A few weeks into post, we’ve sat down with Craig Lockwood, our new Head of Youth, to find out how he’s getting on

SoCo: Hi Craig – can you introduce yourself, tell us a bit about you?

Craig: Absolutely! Hi everyone, my name is Craig Lockwood. I have been involved in working with vulnerable and at risk communities for abut 20 years in Southampton and Hampshire since I graduated from Winchester University. In that tme I’ve had many interesting adventures including being a drama teacher at Winchester prison, being a detached youth worker within Winchester, working with inner city young people with Fairbridge in Southampton, managing the Energy Youth Club in Eastleigh… I also co-created a community interest company called BearFace Theatre which delivers personal development creatively within the criminal justice system. I deliver creative interactive performances to families and different communities, and I’m a freelance instructor in cliff jumping, archery and bushcraft. If you ever go to Hat Fair and see someone making swords and wands with a pole lathe  that’s me too!

SoCo: Wow, that’s a lot of stuff – you’re a busy man! You mention that you graduated from Winchester University – are you local, are you from round here?

Craig: Nope, not that local. I moved to Hampshire in 2001 for university and just fell in love with the area and stayed around. I’m really delighted that my professional world has flourished here, in this gorgeous part of the country. I do move about though – in the summer, I tour festivals performing with my band, and doing woodwork and bushcraft skills.

SoCo: So tell us – among all this excitement and vairety that is your life, why join SoCo?

Craig: I’ve known SoCo for a very long time and love the variety of work that’s undertaken, from 121 with individuals to whole festivals and events. When this opportunity came up, I just wanted to grab it. I love the whole thing that is enabling all corners of communities within Hampshire to creatively express themselves – SoCo does a great job of that and I wanted to be part of it. In everything I do, I’m all about the creative and fun aspect of personal development and SoCo is the ideal organisation in Hampshire to enable people to better themselves through creative activity. It was a dream job!

SoCo: Well, we’re as happy to have you as you sound to be here. So where are you starting – what are you excited about?

Craig: Right now, I’m introducing myself to people, getting the word out that SoCo has a new person in post leading on youth programmes and work. I’m buzzing with ideas and am looking at making loads more opportunities for young people to get involved with music.

What’s particularly exciting me is the direct 121 work I’ve already started doing with young people in our Hightown Studio. it’s an incredible feeling to see a young person come in who is not accessing other services, or getting on with mainstream education, a young person that’s perhaps getting written off by those around them already. And that feeds in on itself, that young person feels that, they know that – and if people don’t have hope for them, how can they have hope for themselves? So when I see that young person come in, from quite a desperate starting point, and then they get fully involved with making music – it can happen in one session – and they get inspired and motivated – that’s an amazing thing to witness.

SoCo: That sounds incredible. What a powerful experience and what a wonderful thing to be able to offer someone. So where next – what are your plans?

Craig: So I’m a few weeks in, and working full time hours – not 9-5, I’ve got a few evenings a week which is great as it means I can provide stuff when young people are available. I’m keen to get to know what SoCo can offer and work with the organisation to expand that. I want to help develop the partnerships SoCo already has with different communities, and develop new ones too, to offer more communities the chance to create music. I’d really like to do some stuff with the whole music sector in Southampton, I want to be actively in the music venues working with them not only to find new talent but to offer new talent that I’ve come across. I guess ultimately, I want to help spread the musical creativity I see so much of through Southampton!

SoCo:Wow, that’s quite a to do list! Sounds like you’ve plenty to keep you busy. How would you feel about chatting to us again in a few months, letting us know how you get on?

Craig: Definitely! I hope to have plenty to tell you about!

If you’d like to speak to Craig about how your school, community group or business can access music and music making support, contact him here

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