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Upton Park youth worker to spread 'the joy of music' to children in Ghana

PUBLISHED: 14:30 11 July 2019

Upton Park youth worker Jessica Leedham will create a music program for children during a 12-week volunteering placement in Ghana. Picture: supplied by Jessica Leedham.

Upton Park youth worker Jessica Leedham will create a music program for children during a 12-week volunteering placement in Ghana. Picture: supplied by Jessica Leedham.

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A youth worker from Upton Park plans is set to make use of her musical talents to help children in Ghana.

Upton Park youth worker Jessica Leedham says the trip will combine her passions for community work and music, and also help her develop further as a role model. Picture: supplied by Jessica Leedham.Upton Park youth worker Jessica Leedham says the trip will combine her passions for community work and music, and also help her develop further as a role model. Picture: supplied by Jessica Leedham.

Jessica Leedham, 18, has volunteered in the borough for several years and will take her charitable efforts to the west African country in November for a 12-week placement.

She expected it to be "a life-changing experience", which combines her passions for working with young people and music.

"Friends and family I grew up with are Ghanian and I've always wanted to travel there so I thought, 'why not volunteer?' - if I can volunteer in the UK, why not abroad?" she said.

Based in the town of Sogakope in the Volta Region of Ghana, Jessica will work as a youth and community mentor and a community arts mentor, which will involve assisting in after-school clubs and creating her own projects.

Jessica, who plays trumpet and piano and produces music, said: "I'm creating a music project to help young people with learning music production and introduce them to the process of creating a song."

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She said she uses rap and spoken word to express herself and have fun, and wanted to spread the joy of music to others.

"I will be engaging with young people and the community about the benefits of music and how it can help with self-expression and even learning," Jessica said.

A youth worker with Rights and Equality In Newham and a volunteer with Manor Park-based The Renewal Programme, Jessica said the trip would also encourage her to develop herself further as a role model.

Her trip was organised through Bethnal Green charity The Daneford Trust, which offers placements to community projects in Africa, Asia and the Carribean for young people aged 18-30.

Jessica has been raising money to support her trip and needs about £700 more to achieve her £3,200 target.

She has put on a community concert and will complete a 10km walk, among other fundraising events, while she has also approached other charitable organisations for grants and support.

Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JessicaLeedham for more information and to donate.

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