Education Secretary's visit marks £1m funding boost for Bristol Plays Music

April 29 2018
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The organisation leading music education in Bristol has had its work secured for a further two years thanks to a funding award of just over £1 million.

Bristol Plays Music works with schools, communities and cultural organisations to promote inclusion, diversity and wellbeing through music, performance and workforce development. It is part of Bristol Music Trust, the organisation that runs Colston Hall.

The £1.1m funding from Arts Council England will enable the organisation to continue to undertake its award winning work providing music education for the city, as well increasing its focus on improving outcomes for children experiencing challenging circumstances. 

Bristol Plays Music currently helps 8,500 children and young people to sing, learn and play every week in schools and music centres. This funding will guarantee that this work can continue to take place for the next two years, and will provide a solid base for the activities of the new National Centre for Inclusive Excellence, which will be based at the transformed Colston Hall.

Moreover, by working in partnership with more schools and communities, Bristol Plays Music aims to nurture creativity in more young people and help remedy the decline in the uptake of arts subjects recently reported by the Royal College of Music.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds, who last week visited St Werburgh’s Primary School, one of the schools provisioned by Bristol Plays Music, said:

“The funding for Bristol Plays Music will give more young people the opportunity to develop their musical talents from an early age. We have always nurtured creative talent in this country and for many, this journey starts at school. That is why it is important we support children from the beginning and offer students from all backgrounds the opportunity to access the education they need to progress as young performers. Arts subjects are an important part of our broad and balanced curriculum.”

Phil Castang, Director of Creative Learning and Engagement of Bristol Music Trust added: “This funding is a real mark of confidence for our work and will enable us to continue to support children and young people in schools and community settings across Bristol to have access to an inclusive and high-quality music education programme.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We are really proud to support Bristol Plays Music to continue their excellent work, creating opportunities for teaching, learning and performance in a way that everyone can access.

The funding success comes shortly after Bristol Music Trust announced it will receive £600,000 over four years to establish the country’s first National Centre for Inclusive Excellence (NCIE) for young musicians with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).