Care UK grant helps Winchester-based charity put smiles on children’s faces

February 6, 2015

A Winchester-based charity that helps young and old people across the south communicate through music therapy has received the first grant to be given in Hampshire from the Care UK Wellbeing Foundation.

Hampshire children with profound and multiple disabilities are now gaining confidence, communicating and having fun with music thanks to the £2,000 grant which has enabled Winchester’s Key Changes music therapy charity to provide a term of support to pupils at the Rosewood Free School in Southampton.

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The school, for pupils aged 2-19 years with profound and multiple learning difficulties, provides support for children from the city and throughout Hampshire.

Key Changes had previously provided the school with music therapy sessions that were much loved by the children. Sadly, funding ran out three years ago so Key Changes co-ordinator Beccy Read was delighted when her application to the Care UK Wellbeing Foundation was accepted. The foundation was established by independent sector health and social care provider Care UK to promote wellbeing through the arts.

Beccy, who was encouraged to apply by one of the Key Changes trustees and who works for Care UK, said: “We are so grateful to Care UK. Without the grant it wouldn’t be possible to bring music therapy back to the school. Fortunately, we were able to send Owain Clarke, their original therapist, to hold the sessions and it was great to see everyone’s face light up when he walked in.

“The therapy allows children who are unable to communicate to express themselves. Not being able to communicate can be incredibly frustrating and these sessions help to increase the children’s wellbeing and confidence. We are monitoring their progress and discussing the impact of the sessions with parents and, at half-term, we hope to share our findings with the school’s governors.”

Zoe Evans, the school’s deputy headteacher, said: “We received an excellent present when we heard that funding had been given for some of the pupils to receive music therapy. We know the immense opportunities for increased engagement and communication a highly skilled therapist, like Owain, can provide for our learners. We are hugely grateful to the Care UK Wellbeing Foundation and hope to look for other grants to maintain the provision that sadly our current funding levels don’t permit.”

Belinda Moore, group marketing and communication director and wellbeing foundation board member, said: “Care UK has its own learning disabilities services across the country, each of which strives to help service users gain access to life-enhancing opportunities that allow them to express their creativity and individuality.

“Rosewood Free School and Key Changes certainly share our ethos and the wellbeing foundation board and I were delighted to hear that the children will be benefiting from the sessions and enjoying the opportunities to express themselves and develop personal skills.

“We also have a long history of supporting people in Hampshire through services such as our NHS treatment centre in Southampton, our minor injuries unit based at the Royal South Hants Hospital, our offender healthcare at HMP Isle of Wight, our mental health services in Gosport and our care homes throughout the county, so were delighted to be able to make this grant to support some of the areas youngest residents.”

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