Turn The Tables is a social enterprise whose mission is to use DJing to change the lives of people affected by homelessness, including asylum seekers & refugees and at risk youth. Making DJing accessible to everyone through life changing experiences, from the first workshop to the main stage.
Robbie Tolson, a local professional DJ based in Edinburgh began working with people affected by homelessness in 2018 when he volunteered at a homelessness charity. He set up DJ workshops for people living in hostels and temporary accommodation, with the vision to share his passion for DJing and live performance and this grew into Turn The Tables.
A National Lottery grant received during the pandemic was a life-line for the organisation and has enabled them to further expand their work in Edinburgh and Glasgow with The Homelessness DJ project. Through this expert-led training, participants graduate through three creative stages from beginner to professional, with the programme culminating in a live stream performance broadcasted via social media from the project’s partner music venues. Some recent graduates of the project have done so well they have been offered positions as Turn The Tables resident DJs and have been booked to perform live under the Turn The Tables banner at major events including Riverside Music Festival.
This experience is empowering, inspiring and rewarding and has helped many of their participants not only learn transferable skills and gain professional experience, but also become part of a community, explore a new creative outlet and overcome low self-esteem.
Robbie says: “Nobody should live without live music. That’s why we have created a safe environment for vulnerable people, who often avoid music venues and events, to not only experience live music but to be the headline act. Controlling their lives as well as the dancefloor.”
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