Plans for first national centre for disabled musicians

March 30 2016

Plans for first national centre for disabled musicians

MPS, including Bristol West’s Thangam Debbonaire, and a wide range of music and disability rights organisations have backed exciting plans for the first ever national Centre for Advanced Training for young musicians with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The proposed Centre is part of Bristol Music Trust’s ambitious £45 million transformation of Colston Hall. If realised, it would be the first centre specialy designed to accommodate people with SEND.

Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour Shadow Minister for Culture, a former professional musician herself, opened the event on behalf of the four Bristol MPs.

She said: “Provision of music education for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is brilliantly integrated in Bristol. Often, provision for children with SEND comes as an add on, whereas in Bristol, it’s central to the entire music education programme. Fully inclusive work at all levels, well trained staff and high quality education are all part of the approach.

“I was delighted to highlight this in the Houses of Parliament reception. Bristol is a wonderfully diverse and cultural city. It would be the perfect place in the country for a Centre for Advanced Training for SEND.”

A musical performance from 12 year old Ashleigh Turley wowed crowds of over 100 in the House of Commons. Ashleigh, who is blind, is an example of a young gifted musician who would benefit from the Centre for Advanced Training.

Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive of Bristol Music Trust, said: “Our multimillion pound Hall transformation offers the opportunity for the South West to take the next step. One of our aims is to challenge the national perception of SEND music and create a national profile like that achieved in Paralympic sport.”