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Music Support, a charity that provides help for UK music industry workers affected by mental ill-health and/or addiction, has been commissioned by Tour Production Group (TPG) to deliver addiction and recovery aware training.

Co-ordinated by the TPG, which was formed in the early months of Covid-19, donations totalling nearly £20,000 have been provided by contributors including Backup Tech, Massive Attack, Hipgnosis Songs, We Need Crew, and Rock-it Cargo.

A bursary scheme has also been created to enable 100 touring freelancers working in the technical and production side of the industry to take the free course.

Since its inception TPG has hosted online weekly discussions about issues faced by the touring industry. Its mental health and personal wellbeing facilitators are tour manager Suzi Green and production manager Nick Gosling.

The four-hour course has been written by Music Support senior learning and development specialist, Norman Beecher. Although Music Support said the course is ideal for anyone who has completed the two-day Mental Health First Aid training, it said it is accessible to learners with no prior training or knowledge in mental health.

Green said engagement with TPG members showed that addiction is one of the biggest challenges touring crew and musicians face: “After a number of TPG members completed Mental Health First Aid Training, we felt a separate short course in addiction and recovery awareness would be really beneficial.”

Gosling said: “Addiction in touring is often ignored, glossed over and covered up. We want to become better equipped to understand the warning signs, and ultimately to know how best to support our colleagues.”

Music Support trustee Matt Thomas said: “Raising awareness about the mostly misunderstood condition of addiction and paths to recovery from it have always been high on Music Support’s agenda, so the creation and launch of this course is a massive milestone. The fact that the course was requested and is being funded by the touring industry, shows that attitudes are finally beginning to change.”

Backup Tech chair John Simpson said the initiative will enable more communication and understanding of the stresses that freelancers suffer, particularly while touring: “The more freelancers trained in recognising addiction, the more the touring community can address the need for the wellbeing of their colleagues.”