Aaja Music

Completed: 2023
Location: Deptford, South London
Region: London
Other local partners: Barclaycard, Construction Youth Trust, GAP Tool Hire, Travis Perkins Greenwich

About the project

Aaja Music is a grassroots music organisation founded by Sam and Owen, two local music business owners from the local Deptford area; incorporating a record label, radio station, music event space. They were forced out of their pre-Covid home, into their temporary home during and since Covid at the nearby Snake Pit – an outdoor venue. Now they’re on a mission to transform this venue on Deptford High Street, which has been empty for 10 years, having been the local Marks & Spencer (the jewellery counter still remains!), car park and underground club. Step in our first project in partnership with Barclaycard Entertainment, doing #SomethingConstructive together for grassroots music, arts and culture.

The project:

  • First up was major clearance and site prep to make the space accessible including asbestos removal, temporary electrics/lighting (thanks to GAP Tool Hire), prepping a temporary toilet area, floor levelling and an industrial clean
  • Construction of two stud walls around the new entrance, to create a sound barrier for neighbours
  • Construction of the walls and doorway between the two larger event spaces
  • Initial construction of the hallway which separates the main music space from the other areas and creation of the live radio studio

The young people: 10 local young volunteers, from the Construction Youth Trust, Lewisham College, St Giles’ Trust and Royal Greenwich Council

The impact:

  • This project kickstarts a wider programme of works to create Aaja’s new long-term home on Deptford High Street, with a 10 year lease
  • Hands-on work experience for 10 young people looking to get into construction, helping to develop a space they may use on their doorstep
  • Expanding the organisation into two venues: the High Street as their indoor home and radio station, The Snake Pit as their live event & market space

Accreditations gained: 9 City & Guilds accreditations gained in Carpentry

See the impact of the project in our film below.

It's about making the space work for us, rather than us having to work around a space... we really appreciate projects like these, that are looking out for people and giving them a chance. It’s lovely knowing that the space that’s going to be ours for ten years is being handmade by these young people... Being Lewisham students, they’re now directly involved in the first stage of a really local community space so they’ll be a part of it forever.” Sam and Owen, Founders, Aaja Music
I wanted to join VIY to learn something new, to get some new skills because I didn’t want my mind just fixed on one thing…. I wanna do carpentry more than electrics now, so hopefully I get an apprenticeship in carpentry. Archie, 16, Construction Youth Trust
I have learnt a lot about carpentry. The mentors were very helpful in my learning and development, I have enjoyed it a lot. VIY Volunteer
I have learnt how to put up a stud partition and how to insulate. This project was really enjoyable and a very good atmosphere. VIY Volunteer
At Construction Youth Trust we are passionate about allowing the young people we work with to gain real-life experience of the world of work. We are able to facilitate these fantastic opportunities with the support of our partners, such as VIY, by working to create a work experience placement tailored to the young person’s needs. VIY facilitated a placement which allowed our young people to benefit from practical training in carpentry, allowing them to engage with core elements of these trades. We are so pleased to be able to work with organisations like VIY, who are clearly committed to providing a thorough work experience opportunity for the young people. Construction Youth Trust