An interview with Take 1 Studio

Created on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
by Jo Maguire

Courtney Rose from the Meadows, Nottingham is a 49-year-old with a passion for giving young people the chance to express themselves, learn and succeed.

15 years ago, Courtney set up Take 1 studio in the cramped-back room of a youth club and has since grown the project into a thriving centre that has seen thousands of young people pass through its doors, including BBC Radio 1 DJ MistaJam.

Courtney with the Take 1 team

Courtney with the Take 1 team

Having previously headed up DARK (Drug Awareness Reality and Knowledge) a drug awareness project in Hyson Green, Courtney worked with young people who were on the verge of serious trouble, or hanging out with the wrong crowd.

“At DARK I would write and develop qualifications for young people in the group.” Courtney said.

The vision

“After four years of working with these youngsters I realised the potential the group had. I was inspired to help more young people so sat down with a fundraiser and got backing from the council for my vision of Take 1 studio.

“I have a background in music and music engineering so wanted to add this to the qualifications available for young people. We started out in an old garage at the back end of a youth club, with basic equipment and only a small pool of students. The qualifications we offered meant that we were like a college in the community and through hard work we managed to secure a centre of our own so that we could offer more sessions for young people.

“Now Take 1 has grown massively and is a school during the day; we have a small class of 14 to 16-year-olds who have been kicked out of school, who with time and support are gaining qualifications and life skills as well as enjoying school for the first time. At 3.30pm we turn into a dance centre and community training facility.”

Courtney doesn’t work alone; he also has full time support from his wife Melissa and his son, Willis, who is the lead choreographer for the dance troupe.


Building our reputation

“Our dance group started small, but as we entered more competitions and won them, the group built up a brilliant reputation. We’ve now got three dance teams and have taken our troupe around

the world, including Amsterdam, Japan and we even qualified for the World of Dance competition in LA in July. The World of Dance was a huge eye opener for us. It was an amazing experience and we made some brilliant contacts. The dance troupes there were the next level and really inspired us to push ourselves further. We didn’t place this year, but after seeing the amazing groups from around the world we’re going to come back next year with more confidence and are on a winning streak since returning home – so watch this space!

“As well as dancing, we also work with the local police delivering community programmes such as the ‘EGYV’ initiative, which encourages young people to engage in positive activities and develop their confidence.

“Our centre also provides local people with the opportunity to volunteer and bolster their CV. Most of our support staff is made up of ex-students and we provide them with additional qualifications such as safe-guarding, first aid and where we can, we help send some of our students to university.

Opportunities and encouragement

Courtney Rose, founder of Take 1 Studio

Courtney Rose, founder of Take 1 Studio

“Why do I do it? I do it because I come from the same sort of place as these kids. I didn’t get the chance or opportunity to create music or follow my passions when I was a teenager and I wanted to create a place for young people to have these opportunities and encourage them to do something positive with their lives. And it works. Only recently I bumped into three youngsters who used to be part of my school. One of them now works for the Prince’s Trust and the other two are both completing apprenticeships. All three were considered under-achievers and were kicked out of school – where others turned their backs on them, we helped them achieve and it was great to hear them say “Yeah, we get it; we understand why you pushed us now.

“We live and breathe the Take 1 family and we are working towards creating a dance academy and setting up an independent free school. We want to keep doing more for young people. We are doers and that’s why we’ve achieved so much.”

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