Young guitarist avails of Arts Council loan
A YOUNG guitarist from Londonderry has hailed a new scheme from the Arts Council which allowed him take out an interest-free loan to finance a new axe and amplifier.
Nineteen-year-old Stephen Mailey from Londonderry said: “I’m a keen guitar player and had been thinking for some time about buying a new electric guitar and amp but the cost was an issue.
“I was in Henderson Music in Derry researching the various options when I found out about the Take it away scheme. The interest free loan was key to my decision to go ahead with the purchase - I could never have afforded to pay the entire cost up front and similarly the thought of paying off vast amounts of interest didn’t appeal.
“It was quick and easy to set up and I’ve had my new guitar and amp for a few weeks now and I’m delighted with them.”
The Take it away scheme makes interest free loans available to anyone in Northern Ireland who wants to buy the musical instrument of their choice and is an extension of the popular Arts Council England scheme.
It works by letting you spread the cost of your new musical instrument over 10 months, making it more affordable to get playing. A 10 per cent deposit is required up front with the remainder to be paid back in nine monthly instalments - completely interest free.
Take it away (Northern Ireland) is available at registered member retailers only across Northern Ireland and is open exclusively to residents of Northern Ireland. Retailers involved include Matchetts Music, Belfast; Henderson Music, Londonderry; Belfast Music Supplies, Belfast; Reynolds Music, Omagh; Beat Street Music, Cullybackey; Ferris Music, Hamiltonsbawn.
Rosa Solinas, Head of Music at the Arts Council said: “The Take it away loan scheme is designed to make musicianship more affordable for all and, in doing so, we hope it will help foster our next generation of home-grown musicians, across all genres.
“The scheme has been hugely successful in England and we are now delighted to be able to make it available to everyone in Northern Ireland.
“In the first year of the scheme in England, just over a quarter (27 per cent) of instruments were bought for young people, while almost half (46 per cent) of sales were to beginners or re-starters.
“I think these stats make for a very positive message in support of our view that playing music can have a positive impact on people’s lives, especially young people, and it is a great way to help build confidence and develop creativity, whether purely for pleasure or as part of a career.”
To find out more on the Take it away scheme, visit the Arts Council of Northern Ireland website at www.artscouncil-ni.org/Takeitaway.
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