The Story So Far And The Way Ahead
Since it's humble beginnings in 1992, Sunbeams has continued to grow and to develop into one of the largest charities in the country using Music For Life with people who are disadvantaged.
To give you an idea, during the year ending May 2011, Sunbeams delivered Community Music Therapy in our Music For Life and Music For Health programme in 42 regular venues each month, (including Hospitals, Hospices, Day Centres, Care Homes and Special Schools) to 1,047 different people of all ages with a wide range of special needs. Another 420 children received community music therapy in venues throughout the year as part of the Government's Aiming High Initiative. Additionally, Annie presented 51 separate recitals and concerts to a total of 5,928 rurally isolated children and adults. Therefore our workload has again been consistent and Sunbeams Music Trust delivered 3,960 sessional hours of Community Music For Life and Music For Health during the year to over 1,000 people every month. An amazing feat.
In addition to our regular sessions, back in 2006 we embarked on an ambitious project to provide Nationally Accredited Qualifications to adults with severe physical disabilities and learning difficulties, in partnership with the Open College Network. The demand for this came from our clients themselves. They 'wanted a qualification, just like everyone else' and through hard work and determination, most were rewarded with just that at a ceremony in September of that year (see Music For Life Awards)
This was a particular stretch on our resources, with the team managing the course alongside all our regular projects, and with requests for more sessions always coming in. It was clear. To ensure that Sunbeams could continue to develop and sustain its services we needed a Centre, a permanent base, and back in 2009 we launched the Sunbeams Centre Appeal.
Sunbeams Music Centre will be a venue for people with disabilities which will provide specialist facilities to enable them to experience the benefits of Sunbeams Music For Life including one-to-one sessions, group work and performance in a beautiful, tranquil and supportive environment.
We launched our 'Donate a Brick/Plank of Wood' appeal (see Donate a Brick) on 1st June 2009, asking for community support towards building our Centre with suggested donations of £5, £10, £25 for bricks or £50 for a plank of wood and hence permanent recognition at our Centre.
We asked the 3,000 recipients of our Newsletter to help us reach our target of £2 million to build a sustainable legacy for people with disabilities in Cumbria - an iconic building for the whole of the United Kingdom. We have been overwhelmed by the response, and to date we have received £166,491 in community support.
The Centre will help to address the demand for a creative and innovative training experience to enable the social integration and inclusion of people with disabilities, not just by improving amenities in the immediate area in Eden, but throughout Cumbria.
Only by creating a permanent Community Music Therapy and Training Centre can we increase our capacity, improve our facilities and expand our capabilities. The aims of the centre are as follows:
The Sunbeams Music Centre will create a sustainable legacy for community music therapy for disadvantaged people across the UK.
We were overwhelmed with the generosity of individuals, with small cheques and donations steadily coming in. Then, in 2010 we thought we had it - the NWDA promised us £2 million pounds, but this was lost along with the demise of the agency, so we forged ahead and to date...
Sunbeams Centre as it will look when it is built
We are determined to start digging in the next year!