The Sound Lounge Music Venue

Completed: 2021
Location: Sutton
Region: London
Other local partners: Greater London Authority, Sutton Council

About the project

The Sound Lounge is a grassroots music venue and community hub that offers live gigs and events as well as training and workshops for marginalised young people and local people in need. They have been a crucial community organisation across South London for many years.

VIY and The Sound Lounge were connected by the Music Venue Trust in 2019 as The Sound Lounge had been offered a new venue in a former bank on Sutton High Street by Sutton Council. One of 20 VIY projects funded at the time by Greater London Authority’s Good Growth fund.

The project:

Following Sutton Council’s regeneration team completing crucial enabling works including toilets and electrics, we continued the retrofitting of this high street unit into a thriving community space for The Sound Lounge – which would play a fundamental part of Sutton Council’s wider regeneration plans for the area.

We built a new stage, a new secure storage space for sound equipment, created a new bar area. new kitchen space and redecorated the entire venue, making it a fit-for-purpose home for The Sound Lounge to become a central community space; the UK’s first carbon neutral grassroots music venue and plant-based café.

The young people: 27 young people referred to the project by multiple local youth referral partners including Sutton NEET Forum, Sutton Youth Offending Team, Limes College Pupil Referral Unit, YMCA and three local schools/colleges

The impact:

  • A former bank retrofitted and repurposed to become a thriving community space
  • 8 volunteer expert tradespeople from the Federation of Master Builders took part in the project, contributing two weeks worth of skilled labour time
  • More than £5,000 worth of tools and materials donated by Travis Perkins, Dulux and GAP Hire Solutions

“The space has been completely transformed. The level of creative input and craftsmanship exceeded any other trade partner we have used in the past. The Lead Mentor Alan clearly developed an excellent relationship with the young people getting the best out of them and it was clear throughout that they all felt a huge sense of pride over the brilliant work they had done.” Hannah White, Co-founder and Manager, The Sound Lounge

Accreditations: 15 Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations gaine, through a combined total of nearly 300 hours volunteering

“Because of our social agenda we were very excited to partner with VIY. Now, thanks to the project, our new venue is welcoming, ready for use and also safe and extremely functional and accessible to wheelchair users. Working with VIY and the team was a great experience for us and it’s been a pleasure to work with people who care.” Hannah White, Co-founder and Manager, The Sound Lounge
Both young people we referred onto the project thoroughly enjoyed this experience. It has given them more motivation to find work and they now have something else to put on their CV's along with a reference. It is great to see experience tradesmen working and teaching young people who might not of had the same educational and training opportunities as others.” Caroline Ekoku, Lead Education and Employment Worker, Sutton Youth Offending Team