Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 12:27 UK

Government funds music rehearsals

Andy Burnham (left) and Feargal Sharkey (right) open rehearsal room in Liverpool
Andy Burnham (left) jammed with Feargal Sharkey (right) in Liverpool

Budding British bands are being offered the chance to pursue their musical dreams in new rehearsal spaces opened by the government.

The first has been unveiled in Knotty Ash Youth Centre in Liverpool, where The Beatles played in 1962.

Others will follow in Bristol, Norfolk, Hastings, St Austell in Cornwall and Washington in Tyne and Wear.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said they were located in deprived areas that had few other youth facilities.

"These fully-equipped spaces will make a big difference for young people who are looking for somewhere to practise, spend time and find an outlet for their creative skills," he said.

'Valuable skills'

The scheme is being co-ordinated by former Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey, who is now head of music industry body UK Music.

"The benefits stack up socially, economically and culturally - and hopefully some of those young people will pick up valuable skills and go on to work in one of our fantastic creative industries," he said.

"The Knotty Ash facility will plug directly into Liverpool's thriving music scene and local music business - encouraging creativity, bringing the community together and benefiting a new generation of musicians."

A total of 10 new rehearsal spaces are due to open by the end of the year using £500,000 of government money. Locations are also being sought in Manchester, Nottingham and Leicester.

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