A MUSIC and arts provider in York has looked back on the progress the team have made during 2022 - as well as looking forward to the future.

Tang Hall SMART, which works with people to help them beat different barriers such as disability and homelessness, was started in 2014 and has grown ever since.

The group, a not-for-profit community music and arts social enterprise, has organised a number of events during 2022 - and plans to hold more over the next year.

Reflecting on 2022, CEO, Sue Williamson, said: "At Tang Hall SMART, not only have we worked with hundreds of people disadvantaged in some way or another across York, but we have also expanded our workforce - and this includes a good proportion of people who started as participants with us.

"I think that having come from a position of struggle themselves, that puts them in a good position to offer compassionate support for others. It is important to me that everyone has a proper contract of work, and we are all paid at the level of the real living wage, me included.

"My biggest focus has always been for people who would otherwise ‘fall through the cracks’ and that was also important for me when I was a teacher at Burnholme Community College too, where I worked for 20 years before setting up the company.

"I would estimate that I have worked with nearly 3,000 people from York altogether."

York Press: Some of the talent on show during the York Barbican show in NovemberSome of the talent on show during the York Barbican show in November (Image: UGC)

One of the groups' biggest events of the year was their concert at York Barbican at the end of November - during which a range of talent performed for nine hours.

Sue said Tang Hall SMART now has a second site at The Jam Factory in Eldon Street. One of the main pieces of work that the enterprise is involved in, over both sites, is their full-time individualised post-16 educational programmes for young people with additional needs who have EHCPs. They also offer packages of activities and learning for adults funded by social care - and sessions for students that are booked by schools.

There is an action-research programme called Kickstart, for adults who have been homeless - and they still run clubs and classes for the community including two choirs, a drama club and instrumental lessons.

York Press: Sue Williamson, CEO of Tang Hall SMARTSue Williamson, CEO of Tang Hall SMART (Image: UGC)

Discussing plans for next year, Sue said: "We partner with Tang Hall Explore to host a monthly tea dance and also a monthly evening of music in the café – and there are extra events planned, monthly band nights, at Theatre 41 from February 2023."

The team are planning to set up a charity called 'Tang Hall Employment' - to push a fundraising drive so the group can continue to support people in the York area.

To make a donation, visit the website at: www.tanghallsmart.com/donations