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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 believes 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.

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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 the 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!”