Room to Rant on the Radio - YMCA DownsLink Group

Room to Rant on the Radio

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Alan Smithson, counsellor with Room to Rant, tells us about his project and shares some news of two local young men featuring on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio Sussex:

What is Room to Rant?

is a project delivered by AudioActive in partnership with YMCA DownsLink Group that provides a space for young men to rap and get stuff off their chest. This rap and spoken word initiative that tackles men’s mental health is in action across Brighton, Worthing, Crawley, Eastbourne and online.

The rap sessions are led by highly experienced and accomplished rappers who are well respected in the Brighton hip-hop and music scene. Members are encouraged to be themselves, talking and exploring struggles and life experiences through spoken word, rap, and hip hop.

No prior rapping experience is needed at these relaxed, free-to-attend, weekly drop-ins, where young men build on lyric-writing and improvisation skills. The groups can still meet despite Covid-19 and there is one online group for those who cannot meet in-person. Anyone who identifies as male or non-binary aged 16-25 is welcome to attend Room to Rant.

As well as accessing the groups, young people joining in Room to Rant sessions are eligible to access one-to-one counselling with our in-house Room to Rant counsellor Alan Smithson.

Local young men on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio Sussex speak about ‘Room to Rant’

A major contributor to Room to Rant is the Comic Relief fund, which was touted on 12 March during BBC Radio 1’s ‘24-Hour LOL-a-thon’ with Scott & Chris.

The early morning segment featured two local young men rap about their experience with mental health and Room to Rant. Click the links below to listen:

The tracks were re-aired on 19 March on the BBC Radio Sussex Breakfast show with Allison Ferns. Room to Rant coordinator Marina Perryman and group leader MC Gramski were also interviewed.

Room to Rant is an innovative way of supporting young people who may find more conventional modes of support difficult to get onboard with.

The young men have been using music and spoken word to connect with their thoughts and feelings while being witnessed by their peers. This is a unique opportunity for young people, and for me. It really has been awesome to see such openness and such connection in these young men. This really works.

Find out more here email [email protected]



YMCA enables people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by and faithful to our Christian values, we create supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

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