Social Justice

'We are heartbroken': Hull group loses hip-hop bus which fights poverty and changes lives

Beats Bus Records is crowdfunding to replace their bus so they can continue their 'life-changing' work

beats bus

Beats bus, with founder Steve Arnott on the left alongside his fellow tutors. Image: Beats Bus Records

A grassroots group which uses hip-hop to fight poverty and protect young people from county lines gangs is “heartbroken” after losing their bus.

The Big Issue previously reported on Beats Bus Records: a non-profit designed to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including those living in poverty and at risk of criminal exploitation. It is using the power of music to change lives.

The bus is a key part of the group’s mission. It is a mobile recording studio where young people learn to create hip-hop songs, play around with beats and experience the joy of music. 

It’s also brilliantly painted with giant aliens, a snarling mouth with a gold tooth and a DJ playing his set. Last year, the crime commissioner provided funds for Beats Bus to be wrapped in graphics with imagery around the county lines – so it immediately starts a conversation with young people.

But time has not been kind to the Beats Bus – and the team are now having to bid goodbye to their beloved vehicle.

Beats Bus Records posted on X: “We are heartbroken and very saddened that we have lost the Beats Bus. We were told last week that its underneath has rotted and rusted and not worth repair. The vehicle is so important to our outreach work.”

They are crowdfunding to get the bus replaced. Steve Arnott, the founder of Beats Bus Records, had told The Big Issue how difficult it was to get financial support to keep their work going.

“It’s definitely much harder to get funded now,” he said at the time. “We’re having to work much harder hours and we’ve had knock-backs recently.”

Now, Beats Bus faces another knock-back. “We were truly devastated,” Arnott told The Big Issue in the aftermath of losing the bus. “A lot of work, money and memories are with the vehicle but it is getting old like me.

“Being pro-active we see this as a chance to re-define and re-imagine a new vehicle we have lots of campaigning planned this summer and we are determined to fulfil that pledge to keep lots of young people safe and change lives.”

Donate to the crowfunder to help replace the Beats Bus here.

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