The Bandspeople's Alliance to Negate Discrimination (BAND) has told 4BR that such has been the encouraging response to the open letter inviting people and organisations to support a mission statement to make brass banding in the UK a musical movement from any forms of prejudice, intolerance and discrimination, that steps are now being undertaken to formalise its structure and work.
Spokesperson and founder member Chris Hardy said: "We've been so heartened by the response to the aims and ambitions of the initiative that we felt that the next step was to formalise a structure as well as seek professional advice on how to offer the type of support, advice and information that is undeniably needed by people within the banding movement.
However, as much as we have been encouraged, it was also obvious that it has highlighted the urgent need for there to be a safe, confidential access point for people who are experiencing any forms of discrimination within the banding movement to be able to seek help and support."
Chris revealed that in the meantime BAND will continue to work closely in partnerships with representative bodies such as Brass Bands England, Band Associations and contest promoters amongst others to seek consensus and support for complementary aims and objectives in respect to achieving greater diversity and equality within banding.
He added: "We are fully aware of the work being undertaken and delighted that we have already been able to connect with people and organisations that share the aims of our original open letter to make banding free of prejudice, intolerance and discrimination.
We are aware that we must encourage trust and respect for what we wish to achieve with others, but I can assure those who have already signed up to offer their support, and to those who we hope will follow suit, that the first steps have been taken and many more will follow."
We are aware that we must encourage trust and respect for what we wish to achieve with others, but I can assure those who have already signed up to offer their support, and to those who we hope will follow suit, that the first steps have been takenBAND
On such aspect where Chris is hoping to see more support is from band organisations themselves.
"A number of bands have already signed up, but we would love to see more.
Those excellent banding organisations that already look after the welfare and safety of their members are standard bearers for what is good in the brass band movement — so to have them with us and to inspire others to join would be great."
Find out more
To find out more and to sign up your individual or bands support for the open letter, go to: https://www.facebook.com/Bandspeoplesalliance/