PLANS for a new Black Country Music Hub have been welcomed following an announcement by Arts Council England.

The Black Country will be one of 43 hubs to take part in an ambitious national programme to provide high-quality music education for all children and young people, Arts Council England has confirmed.

Dudley Council has been appointed the lead organisation for the hub and will work with music services in Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils and SIPS Music and Education service in Sandwell.

It will receive £1.9million from the Department of Education to coordinate music education in the region. It will invest in new musical instruments, equipment and technology tailored to the needs of children and young people in the Black Country, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

The hub will support the continued offer of individual and group music lessons in schools and provide opportunities for children and young people to plays in bands and orchestras.

It will also support orchestral lessons in school, where all children and young people in a class are able to learn to play an instrument.

Chris Jones, head of education, SEND and family solutions at Dudley Council, said: "We welcome this announcement and I’m pleased we’re able to lead this work in the Black Country.

"Through the new hub we hope to share best practice with colleagues across the region and unlock further opportunities for all children and young people to be creative and get involved in music."

Brian Cape, chief executive at SIPS Education, added: "We’re delighted to be formally joining forces with Dudley, Wolverhampton and Walsall Councils in the creation of a Black Country Music Hub.

"We look forward to enhancing our already robust neighbourly cooperation and collaboration, for the benefit of colleagues and students alike, whilst giving the Black Country a powerful voice on the national stage."