PEOPLE facing homelessness are being given the chance to learn how to DJ in a bid to change their lives around.

The project is being backed by an array of well-known venues and music industry professionals, including legendary techno duo Slam and renowned Glasgow-based DJ Nightwave.

In Glasgow, the Homelessness DJ project has partnered with internationally known Groove City Radio and the Sub Club and will work alongside third-sector organisations to bring workshops to people facing homelessness across the city.

In Edinburgh, where the project was initially set up three years ago, it will move into a new, state-of-the-art studio in Granton. The large multi-room space will enable socially distant indoor and outdoor Covid-safe workshops.

Public DJ workshops are also going to be offered as a way of increasing community engagement and project sustainability. These will give members of the public the opportunity to learn to DJ while contributing to the scheme, following a pay-it-forward model where proceeds are reinvested in it.

One of the people who has already benefited from the initiative is Ryan, who said it helped when he was going through a hard time.

“I had been facing homelessness for a while and it was hard to think positively,” he told the Sunday National. “The weekly workshops gave me a real focus and performing in front of an actual audience gave me something really exciting to work towards. It was just really nice to have a laugh and be creative, interacting with people over the love of music.”

Although Ryan was eventually able to move into a flat of his own, it happened just as the lockdown hit which he said he found “really tough”.

“I really missed DJing a lot,” he said. “Now that the team are moving into their own studio, I can go along to use the facilities when I want and we have some gigs lined up for later in the year. It’s great to have that weekly focus again and I look forward to helping others who find themselves in the situation I was in.”

Nightwave, also known as Maya Medvesek, said she was “honoured” to be supporting the project.

“Club culture and DJing have done so much for my mental health, confidence and general happiness and I believe everyone should have a chance to experience these benefits,” she said.

Slam said they were “extremely happy” to be ambassadors for “this amazing project”.

“Hopefully we can give knowledge, understanding and inspiration to empower those who need it most for this worthy cause. We are also working on some exciting event collaborations that will give Turn The Tables users a live platform and look forward to sharing news on that soon,” Slam said.

The Homelessness DJ initiative has developed from the electronic music-based Turn The Tables social enterprise founded by Robbie Tolson, a Heriot-Watt graduate from Stirling.

It is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Fund awards.

“I really want to thank everyone who helped us get here,” said Tolson. “Before the pandemic we relied heavily on local hospitality businesses lending us space to host workshops but due to local restrictions this was disrupted. Now, due to Creative Scotland backing, we can move into our own space and have so much more flexibility.”

Launching this month, the Homelessness DJ project is aimed at improving mental health resilience and encouraging self-development by providing an inclusive and accessible programme that gives people facing homelessness the opportunity to learn to mix and perform their own DJ sets.

It will take participants through three creative stages, from beginner DJ to professional DJ, leading to a live-stream performance where they will perform their own set to be broadcast to the world via social media from the enterprise’s partnered music venues.