Music-based social enterprise Turn The Tables launch crowdfunder
- Arusa Qureshi
- 10 September 2020
Group details plans for expansion in support of those who have experienced homelessness
After a successful pilot run in Edinburgh in 2019, Scottish start-up social enterprise Turn The Tables have announced plans for expansion, hoping to further support those who have experienced homelessness by delivering DJ workshops that help build mental health resilience. Founded in 2018 by Cyrenians volunteer Robbie Tolson, the group place a focus on mixing records, giving people living in hostels or facing homelessness the opportunity to learn to mix, operate professional sound and light equipment, and reconnect with the music they love, while socialising in a safe environment.
With an estimated 320,000 people considered homeless in the UK and this number expected to rise even further as a direct result of COVID-19, the group have launched a Crowdfunder to try and raise vital funds to expand their work in Scotland and beyond. Turn The Tables have also just announced their first ambassador, legendary DJ Bushwacka!, who recently began working as a therapist and has started his own 'Listen Up Therapy' to provide therapy and counselling services to people working within the music and entertainment industries.
On being their first ambassador, Bushwacka! said: 'From my years DJing to working within mental health there is something about the project that has really resonated with me. I have fundraised for homelessness charities in the past, so it is an honour to be supporting the work that Turn The Tables do.'
Robbie performed the first live Turn The Tables' gig at The List's 2019 Festival Party alongside Ryan, who was living in a hostel at the time. The success of their set led to the duo being hired on the night by Diageo to perform every day of the festival at their Johnnie Walker pop-up site. They went on to reinvest profits from gigs into delivering workshops and impactful recovery support for members and thus, Turn The Tables was born. Today, they are backed by The Scottish Social Entrepreneurs Fund, Aberdeen Standard Investments, The Big Issue Invest and The University of Edinburgh, with an impressive board of directors that includes Grimey Limey label head Ben Kaelin; creative director of Too Gallus and The Black Scottish Business Fund, Barrington Reeves; and Alice Sparks, head of Invisible Manchester.
'Ryan's ability to learn how to mix vinyl records really impressed me.' Robbie says of the group's beginnings. 'His obvious natural talent and the positive impact the workshops were having on him and others was the inspiration for creating our organisation. I really connected with them. It just felt like I was going to hang out and mix records with my pals.
'Learning to DJ is not an accessible thing to do, but I bet most people have wondered or even dreamt of trying to DJ. So being able to share something so exciting in order to support and improve the quality of life of those in need is very special.'