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Home /  Blog / Everything Community News / Charity Highlight: Yasin El Ashrafi and HQ Creative Arts Network

Charity Highlight: Yasin El Ashrafi and HQ Creative Arts Network

28th June 2023 in Everything Community News

Think about your favourite song, and how it makes you feel every time it comes on the radio. Or a favourite gig or concert that sticks in your memory, where you felt a real sense of togetherness with the audience.

There’s no doubt that music and the creative industries have a remarkable ability to unite, inspire and motivate us all.

The creative process can also serve as a powerful outlet for self-expression, improving our mental well-being by increasing positive emotions and reducing the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

However, for many talented creatives, the path to a structured and sustainable career can be challenging to navigate.

This is where HQ Creative Arts Network (HQ CAN) comes in - providing creative projects for young adults in the Leicestershire area designed to improve their employability, skill levels and mental well-being.

 

What is the HQ Creative Arts Network?

HQ CAN is an initiative led by Yasin El Ashrafi, a Leicestershire entrepreneur with a deep passion for music and a commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of aspiring young creatives.

Supported by its funding partners, HQ CAN offers mentoring, training, and access to professional studio spaces for young creatives to develop their skills, refine their craft, and pursue their dreams.

A lot of the people that the charity works with are at challenging stages in their lives, such as those who might have been unemployed for a long period, people who have struggled with addiction and substance abuse, and ex-offenders who are looking for a fresh start in life.

By providing projects designed to improve mental well-being and employability, HQ CAN aims to transform the lives of budding creatives and help them kick start their career.

 

Who is Yasin El Ashrafi?

Yasin is well known across the Leicestershire business community, and the team at Everything Community are privileged to call him a friend.

He’s been awarded some prestigious awards, including:

  • Honorary Doctor of Music, Issued by De Montfort University in Feb 2023
  • Innovation in Creative Award, Issued by Leicestershire Innovation Awards / Leicestershire Live in Feb 2023
  • O2 Everyday Hero, Issued by 02 Business in Oct 2021
  • British Empire Medal for services to Young People, to Music and to Mentoring, Issued by HRH Queen Elizabeth II in Dec 2020
  • Citi Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Issued by Citi Bank in June 2020
  • Prime Minister's Points Of Light Award, Issued by 10 Downing Street in Sep 2018
  • Inaugural Prince’s Trust Mentor of The Year 2018
  •  

Yasin's journey to success has been quite a rollercoaster, filled with challenges, self-discovery, and ultimately, a determination to make a positive impact.

Growing up in an inner-city council estate, Yasin was raised by his single mother along with his five siblings. He found himself drawn towards the wrong crowd during his teenage years, leading him down a troublesome path involving substance abuse and addiction between the ages of 16 and 24..

However, a significant turning point came when Yasin's girlfriend became pregnant.

As someone who grew up without a father figure, he realised the importance of being there for his child. Determined to become the best dad he could be, Yasin made a courageous decision to distance himself from current lifestyle and made a commitment to change.

In search of new opportunities, Yasin turned to an early passion of his - music.

He proposed an idea to the local council to run projects teaching mus to young people.

The project was a success, and he soon secured an additional £50k investment from The Key Fund to help set up an additional recording studio, expand his charitable projects and set up his HQ Familia record label.

And this is really where the HQ Creative Arts Network was born - a Community Interest Company designed to support young people who find themselves in situations similar to those Yasin experienced during his teenage years.

HQ CAN offers a sense of belonging for young people who might have struggled to find their place in conventional education or employment and allows them to explore their talents, refine their skills, and be guided towards stable careers in the music and creative industries.

 

Proud to support HQ CAN with branded hoodies and USB drives

We know Yasin quite well as an established figure in the Leicestershire charity scene, and we were happy to help out when he enquired about branded clothing and ways for the young people at HQ CAN to store and transfer their music.

We donated branded hoodies to HQ CAN for participants and mentors in their programmes to wear. Not only does wearing branded clothing help foster a sense of belonging and togetherness amongst the HQ community - it also helps to raise awareness of the CIC in the wider community.