Monday, 27 May 2024
Monday, 27 May 2024

Inclusive music charity breaking down communication barriers

A charity is harnessing the power of music to help people with severe disabilities and impairments break down communications barriers – thanks to new funding.

Joy of Sound runs music sessions open to all including older people and people living with learning disabilities, autism, dementia, mental health challenges and long-term physical conditions.

The charity is running weekly sessions in Hackney, Lambeth and Kensington & Chelsea, thanks to a £48,620 grant from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

Joy of Sound avoids the confines of songs with lyrics or sheet music in favour of improvised sessions where participants build their own compositions using rhythm, melody and even silence.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“These sessions have a profound effect, as people who can sometimes find it very hard to communicate can suddenly make a connection with others through music.

“Joy of Sound has over 20 years of experience and we’re delighted our funding is helping it bring its innovative, inclusive approach to music-making to even more people.”

Sessions are held at St Barnabas Church, in Hackney, on Tuesdays, Portobello Road Salvation Army Hall, in Notting Hill, on Thursdays and St Peter’s Heritage Centre, in Vauxhall, on Fridays.

Participants in the sessions use instruments ranging from the cello, double bass and guitar to wheelchair-accessible marimbas, xylophones and zithers.

Previous City Bridge Trust funding also supported an inter-cultural project where Joy Of Sound commissioned bespoke krars – string instruments traditionally used in Ethiopia and Eritrea, which are especially suited to the group’s work as they can be held and played in a variety of ways.

Joy of Sound Director and Trustee Chris Leeds said:

“Our ethos is to create a non-judgmental space where individual creativity can come out and people can participate independently as equals, building confidence and self-esteem.

“There’s an incredible feeling of exhilaration from making music with others and taking part in a process that doesn’t have to use words – it can move you to tears.

“People often come in with their heads down and walk out with their chest out and their head held high, showing an elevated mood.”

More information about Joy of Sound is at

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, awarding grants of over £28 million a year to tackle disadvantages across the capital –


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