A WINCHESTER music group made the most of virtual sessions during the pandemic – despite having to dismantle its permanent studio.

Winnall Rock School has been meeting since last March, albeit online, with free Tuesday night workshops for thirty young people.

Peter Brown, project coordinator, explained why the studio at Unit 12, Winnall Valley Road, was dismantled, costing £4,000: "We couldn't use them due to social distancing requirements. This would still be the case.

"We were paying rent for a facility we couldn't use, although we did get a Covid relief grant. We had some longer-term issues relating to ventilation and no wheelchair accessibility.

"We have longer-term aspirations – we are waiting for the right time to persue this."

The school has published a YouTube video on their plans, which can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/DdO3YTiF_OA.

Autumn 2020 was the last time the group met face-to-face at Unit 12, but were forced back online due to another lockdown.

So far this year, members have been collaborating with University of Winchester students on course presentations and projects.

The Spring 2021 Term is also continuing online.

In a newletter, a spokesperson said: "Overall, this has been a challenging year and we are mindful that online provision could not and has not suited everyone’s circumstances, with some members opting out.

"However, we also had successes in terms of learning, new creative outputs and wellbeing support to many of our students and their families. Their feedback has indicated that our service has been more welcome and important than ever.

"Whilst some of our creative and wellbeing outputs were not fully realised, through prudent management and Covid-19 Relief Grants, we have rolled-over some funding to start our 2021/2 activities and develop our wellbeing skills and ambitions. However, the quests to secure further funds and a new home carry on.

"Finally, we are grateful to everyone who helped provide our service. We thank our Music Leader, Project Coordinator (who we helped secure music education and wellbeing qualifications) and our five volunteer tutors, along with our trustees who are all building skills and awareness of youth mental health.

"Collectively, they devised and secured our creative outcomes, ensured appropriate safeguarding, and nurtured our funds. Our key funders this year were Winchester City Council, Health Education England and the Belgae Trust. Thank you all."