Shaping Portsmouth 2020 – Music for the Community

Supporting Portsmouth Business Award - Music for the community

We had a wonderful morning on the 17th January 2020 visiting Guild Hall in order to celebrate local businesses and organisations active in the community. It was an inspiring event and a real honour to have won the Supporting Portsmouth Business Award 2020. We have loved bringing music to the community and we hope to continue doing so for many years to come.

Sue Newman, Boogie Mites Director Reports on the Shaping Portsmouth Conference 2020

Boogie Mites provide early years music sessions, training and resources nationally and internationally. We are delighted to receive the Shaping Portsmouth Business Award because Portsmouth community have played such a big role in our journey.

I started Boogie Mites music sessions for parents and 2-4 year olds when on extended maternity leave with my third child in 2004. The music and support was supplied by Harriet Thomas, founder of Boogie Mites in London where I had taken my boys before moving to Portsmouth in 2002. The thing that I originally loved about Harriet’s sessions was the fabulous funky music that was enjoyed as much by adults as it was by children, uplifting everyone’s day, and the use of recycled materials for props and instruments that not only kept cost low but also cared for the planet.

I very quickly recognised that there was a gap in the market for creative, active music making for the under 5’s, both in the community and within early years settings. Also, as I witnessed, and read up on neuroscience studies that explained the incredible benefits that regular early years music practise offers, I realised that this information needed to be more widely shared with teachers and parents, along with access to creative music resources and a boost for confidence.

Supporting Portsmouth Business Award - Boogie Mites Music for the community

Following several years of trialling and developing Boogie Mites music workshops, linking to the Early Years curriculum and meeting local priorities in 2007, I worked with Portsmouth Early Years team to develop a practitioner training programme and resource pack. The programme of 25 songs supported the launch of the Governments National Strategy for Letters and Sounds Phase 1 (3-5 years) and it was rolled out via PCC Early Years funding across Portsmouth at the end of 2007. Ella Harbut was one of the team at that time who is still working in the PCC Early Years team now.

Supporting Portsmouth Business Award - Boogie Mites Music for the community


From 2007 to 2015 many further music programmes were developed in Portsmouth, with input from parents, teachers and children across the City. A Boogie Mites Healthy Living Programme was developed to support the launch of the Portsmouth Change4Life Project in 2009. Boogie Mites supported many Portsmouth events and projects, including Family Learning workshops and providing live music for under 5’s at festivals on Southsea common. We contracted and trained an amazing team of Portsmouth and South Hampshire based Boogie Mites teachers with experience ranging from education, nursing, parenting and SEN.

We developed parent education courses for all age groups, including babies, and these were delivered under a Service Level Agreement with PCC Children’s Centres Department in partnership with 15+ Children’s Centres across the City from 2008 to 2012, when the Children’s Centre funding was still in place. The parent education courses developed in Portsmouth have been delivered across Hampshire, Surrey and some London Boroughs under Family Learning contracts for many years now. We continue to work with Jo Duckett and the Community Learning team at PCC, delivering transition courses and workshops with schools and pre-schools.

Supporting Portsmouth Business Award - Boogie Mites - Music for the community

From 2015, Sue and Harriet started to focus attention on sharing Boogie Mites more widely via practitioner training and ‘franchise’ arrangements. This required setting up online resources and training, a process which is ongoing. Nicole Heard took up the ‘franchise’ business for Portsmouth in summer 2017 when it was still a trial model. Nicole has championed the development of intergenerational music sessions and community interest company status, making a huge impact for our families and elderly who need it the most. Nicole shares her story of a very busy 2 and half years below.


Nicole Heard Boogie Portsmouth Community Projects CIC.

My journey with Boogie Mites began about three years ago whist researching franchise opportunities in the area.  As aSupporting Portsmouth Business Award - Boogie Mites - Music for the communityteacher and parent from Portsmouth, I had heard of Boogie Mites and the great work they did. Little did I know that in three years I would be accepting a Shaping Business Award for my work with Boogie Mites from the City I was raised in, that I have raised my family in, for a business I love running.

From the first viewing of a community Boogie Mites Music session, I knew Boogie Mites was for me.  With a supportive Head Office, based in Fratton, I have been able to develop and extend the reach of Boogie Mites. They embraced my initiative to trial an Intergenerational model, bringing pre-school children into care-homes and day centres for the elderly, for shared music making sessions. They funded an evaluation report that considered the positive impact on well-being for everyone involved.

They also supported the move from sole trader to a not-for-profit CIC which reflects our social mission.

Supporting Portsmouth Business Award - Boogie Mites - Music for the communityMy long-term goals are to continue to grow Boogie Mites Community Projects Portsmouth CIC. I want to enable more families, carers and older people to enjoy the beneficial effects of our music, props and unique handmade instruments, to continue being part of our community, to support families fighting isolation and share experiences. All the while knowing that we have lots of exciting projects on the horizon, including extending our small team and supporting local events such as Victorious Festival this summer.


We are also fund raising for a new Boogie Mites van – please get in touch if you have any ideas!


Thank you!

In conclusion, Portsmouth Local Authority, teachers, parents and children have contributed hugely to development of the Boogie Mites Programmes, which are now nationally and internationally acclaimed. We would like to thank the local community for helping to shape us! We look forward to many more magical, musical Boogie Mites sessions with Portsmouth families, elderly, nurseries and schools in the future.

Supporting Portsmouth Business Award 2020 - Boogie Mites


For enquiries, contact Sue Newman, Boogie Mites Director, on 023 9281 7274, or email her: