Ben’s Centre is a local charity with a long history in Sheffield. For its 25th year of operation CEO, Daryl Bishop had grand plans for a celebration of the charities achievements over those years but the pandemic sadly put a dampener on anything that encouraged people to gather. Seeking alternative ideas to mark the occasion that people could get involved with from their own homes, the idea was born to produce a song to celebrate the founding of this essential charity back in 1996 when Ben, a local Police officer recognised the futility of repeatedly arresting street drinkers that used to frequent the Peace Gardens area and releasing them without support. Ben’s Centre was born to be a safe place for these people and has become much wider than this – helping a wider range of vulnerable people and providing support and sanctuary.
To create the song local vocal superstar, Sally Doherty was approached tentatively and asked if she would be interested in helping out. Sally performs an array of music styles from jazz to folk and has composed for the BBC as well as having a long-spanning solo and collaborative music career. Sally has played all over locally and internationally – she is currently performing a run of shows with Paul Kilvington at Cubana’s in Leopold Square. Within days of asking Sally to create something for us, she had penned a masterpiece and got to work gathering contributors to help the song come to life. On the track you can hear Sally’s beautiful vocals, unique instruments such as the Balalaika Primo (a Russian triangular 3-stringed instrument) and the Cittern (as well as the guitar) played by Shez Sheridan and an accordion played by Winkie Thin. These are all complemented by chorus backing vocals provided by local men and service users. This was all complemented by Lyndon Hobson mixed and mastered the track to what you hear now. To top it all off , former Leadmilll artwork producer, Martin Bedford created the single the impactful cover art.
Ben’s Centre and Sally are also working with the amazing local company LensGo Visual Media to produce the music video which will be coming soon. LensGo are based down at the incredible SteelYard Kelham and have already produced a great promotional video for Ben’s Centre, and work with many other charities in the city to create visual media.
The song is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, Amazon Music and sallydoherty.bandcamp.com.