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Meet our Programming team!

Director of Programmes

Kate Gardner

Following on from gaining a music degree at City University, Kate went straight into a role at the Milton Keynes City Orchestra. In the year that she worked there, she gained a valuable insight into the running an arts organisation, finding a real passion for music education. Following on from this, she worked at the London Symphony Orchestra in their Discovery team being part of the team delivering the LSO On Track performance as part of the Olympics Games Opening Ceremony in 2012, the LSO’s Open-Air Concerts in Trafalgar Square, managing and delivering projects in Aix-en-Provence at the Festival d’Aix as well as education projects in Japan as part of the Orchestra’s tour schedule.

An exciting role came up at Music for Youth and being an alumni herself, Kate couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to provide incredible performance opportunities for young people, having gained so much from it when she was younger.

Since starting with MFY, Kate has moved through various roles at the organisation, and now and now enjoy working on vision and strategy alongside our new CEO to enable the smooth delivery of large-scale events, concerts and festivals.

Kate's favourite thing about working at MFY is the events. Seeing the energy and excitement of young people experiencing and performing at some of the UK’s most prestigious concert platforms is second to none and an experience that I know they will never forget.

Outside of work, Kate has a busy family life with three young boys but also enjoy keeping fit and catching up with friends.


Matt Heanes

Originally from the North East, as a 14-year-old, Matt played gigs professionally in Blues Rock bands across the region. He studied for a B.A (Hons) in Performing Arts at the University of Cumbria, where he developed his skillset and first began to get noticed by the Music Industry for his songwriting. Following University, he completed a traineeship at the Sage Music Centre, Gateshead where he worked on Community Music and Pop Music projects across the North East and Cumbria. Matt then moved to London to persue a career in Music, initially gaining work experience at the highly influential Stephen Budd Producer Management. 

He gigged and recorded around the London region including being the final act to play The Marquee Club (following it's relaunch). After an enjoyable time as an artist including praise and encouragement from Jamie Cullum, Gavin Rossdale and Siedah Garrett (Oscar Winning Songwriter), Matt realised that his passion was in songwriting. Collaborations with David Z (Prince), Rob Harris & Matt Johnson (Jamiroquai) and Ministry of Sound followed.

After a few years of working at a music promoter, Matt wanted to focus on supporting up & coming young talent and making sure that talent had a platform to shine.

Matt joined Music For Youth because he believes that talented young musicians, regardless of their background, should be able to shine and wanted to be part of a team that champions that talent.

'Matt's favourite thing about working at MFY is attending the concerts and meeting all of the talented young musicians and performers. Matt believes Music For Youth have a forward-thinking, cutting-edge team that can takes things to the next level.

Outside of work Matt loves to attend gigs. His favourite as acts are The Verve, Pearl Jam and Sam Fender. He loves to travel and he has a great love for Ireland. He has a passion for American Sports including the NBA and NFL. He is a massive fan of the New York Knicks and Seattle Seahawks.


Winnie Sandy

Winnie has worked within the music industry for the past 7 years developing projects, partnerships and events that support musicians and organisations. She enjoys working beyond the status quo and seeking ideas that creatively disrupt the industry. Winnie joined MFY because she likes the balance of working to develop youth voice and the music industry.

Her favourite thing about working at Music for Youth is that we're such a small team so everyone contributes to ideas. She says it's great to be able to all lean into our strengths and share knowledge.

Outside of work Winnie is an active musician, regularly attending and performing at gigs, writing and producing.

About the author

Abbie Strowbridge-Knight

Abbie works as part of the MFY communications team, managing content for the website and for MFY's social media. She has a background in performing arts and many years' experience in marketing and communications. She also recently completed her CIM Level 4 qualification.

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