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Lou put on a gig for us back in December 2023, which was a brilliant night of live music and fundraising. The bands at Battersea Arts Centre brought in £1,347 to go towards supporting people struggling with suicidal thoughts. Lou’s dedication to TLP comes from her time spent as a volunteer, talking and understanding people going through intense difficulties. Let’s here from Lou about why she got involved and what inspired her to put on a charity gig.

How and why did you get involved with The Listening Place and in what capacity?

I was looking for a way to connect with and give back to my community (as a born and bred Londoner) and listening seemed like a quietly radical way to do it. I became a Listening Volunteer at TLP’s Pimlico site, and my fortnightly shift became a treasured part of my week. I was warmly welcomed at both shifts I was involved with during my time as a volunteer and it was an honour to get to know people, I might not otherwise have crossed paths with.

What is Jam Sandwich?

Jam Sandwich is a live music night I set up in 2012. The first Jam gig was at The Troubadour in Earl’s Court in 2012 and now I can hardly believe it’s been 11 whole years of regularly curating and hosting live music evenings across the city. We’ve hosted events in many inspiring venues, from The Troubadour to an Elizabethan church in Stokey, to an art lounge in Peckham, to a panoramic rooftop in London Fields, to an old recording studio-turned cinema in Barnes, to name a few.

I played ‘the circuit’ back in 2011/2012 and found it lacking. Nights were clumsily put together and the gigs were missing heart. I wanted to create a community for musicians, songwriters, artists and music-lovers to make meaningful connections and spark collaborations. There’s always a listening audience, a lot of respect and heart, the gigs are warm and inclusive – listening to live music in a room full of other humans feels so incredibly nourishing, there’s nothing quite like it.

Tell us about the Jam Sandwich event you’re running in aid of TLP on 6 December

I’m super excited to be hosting an anniversary gig raising awareness and funds for TLP and celebrating 11 years of Jam, at the Grand Hall at Battersea Arts Centre, a Grade II listed building. I am pleased to announce that TLP’s very own Dorrie 534 (from TLP’s Visitor Support Team) will be sharing some words and songs with us. I can’t wait to share the stage with her and witness her singing. I’ve put together a line-up of spellbinding genre-hopping, goosebump-inducing artists who will share their music with us. I am so looking forward to gathering together in the name of music discovery, real talk and community and shining a spotlight on the wonderful work and people of TLP.

Why did you decide to run the event as a fundraiser for TLP?

I feel one of the greatest gifts we can ever give another human is to truly see and hear them. It feels like a natural alignment, pieces of the jigsaw coming together – music, community, sharing a sense of what it is to be human, how messy and painful that can be and how coming together is powerful.

It is a real honour to curate, host and witness Jam evenings, to collectively feel and heal.

I wanted to honour the amazing and subtle work of TLP, the steady, reliable and compassionate approach. So many artists (including me) write about their struggles with their mental health and find music to be a balm, a way to process and a way to reach across. For me, TLP feels like a hand stretched out, a reaching across that is so simple and poignant.

If you feel inspired to run your own fundraiser, check out the ‘Support Us’ section.