Charity Partnership Using Music To Improve Care In Bedfordshire

TWO AWARD-WINNING charities have joined forces and are working together to improve care for children and young people with learning disabilities in Bedfordshire.

Music as Therapy International, a south London-based charity with over twenty years’ experience of working with care staff in the UK and internationally, has partnered with leading charity MacIntyre to introduce therapeutic music into the care of children and young people with Autism and learning disabilities.

Music as Therapy International believe passionately in the power of music to make the most of people’s potential, overcoming obstacles such as disability, trauma and mental illness.Their pioneering approach sees them train care staff to use simple music therapy techniques and musical activities, providing them with resources and professional support to make sustainable change. Their approach also chimes with the current health and social care move towards social prescribing, while strengthening professional development for practitioners.

MacIntyre is a national charity providing learning, support and care for more than 1,500 people with a Learning Disability and/or Autism. This new project is part of their No Limits programme, which provides specialist, alternative school provision for young people unable to access mainstream schooling.

The project being launched by the two charities began earlier this year at Dell Farm, Luton. It will run for ten weeks and will see MacIntyre’s staff trained to use music in a therapeutic way by a professional music therapist. Although initially led by the music therapist, over the course of the project MacIntyre’s staff will gradually take on leadership of the music sessions, so by the end of the project they will be able to run their own music programme independently.

Alexia Quin, director of Music as Therapy International, said “We have seen time and again how our training increases the confidence and commitment of care staff, something especially important at a time when workforce retention is a major issue facing the care sector.

“We are thrilled to be working with an organisation like MacIntyre, who share our commitment to investing in staff, improving care and ultimately enhancing lives through the power of music.”

Sarah Nicholson, programme manager for MacIntyre No Limits said: “Music as Therapy International‘s training has given our staff new ways to interact with the young people they care for, boosting their skills while giving a group of young people with complex needs a space in which their development, needs and enjoyment are centred.

“We look forward to seeing how the music groups grow after this pilot project, and to a continued partnership between our charities. The music is already making such a difference!”

About Music as Therapy International 

Music as Therapy Internationalaims to bring the ‘unique and life-enhancing benefits of music to as many vulnerable, marginalised people as possible’ through its unique skill-sharing model); in 2018 alone its programmes had a reach of 23,960 vulnerable people across the world.  With twenty years’ experience in international development, the charity’s 2016 ‘Bringing it all Back Home’ initiative has since been gaining momentum, with ten UK partners so far (including MacIntyre’sNo Limitsprogramme. Music as Therapy International centres three key client groups: Learning Difficulties (particularly in adults: ALD), Under Fives and Dementia, and prioritises sustainability, rejecting a ‘top-down’ approach in favour of locally-led initiatives, using a portfolio of adaptable activities to suit local needs. The charity has capacity to run more UK projects in 2019 and is open to requests.

Richard James – 

Fundraiser, Music as Therapy International

Tel: 02077 353231

About MacIntyre

‘Established in 1966 by Kenneth Newton Wright, the parent of a disabled child, MacIntyre has grown to become a leading national charity, highly respected and committed to setting standards and increasing choice. They provide learning, support and care for more than 1,500 children, young people and adults who have a learning disability and/or autism, at more than 150 services across England and Wales. Their diverse range of services includes registered care homes, supported living, outreach, accredited training schemes and lifelong learning services, as well as a residential special school and further education provision.’

Claire Kennedy 

Head of Marketing and Fundraising, MacIntyre

01908 230100