Music has always been political. From the feminism of riot grrrl to the anti-establishmentarianism of punk. The problems many of the people we support are political too. From access to healthcare to support for looked after children, politics is the driving force behind the institutions that our lives are embedded in.
So, we have been working behind the scenes nationally to raise the issue of music as a social welfare tool in parliament.
We were invited to be a part of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Child and Youth Crime. This is a group with MPs and lords from across the political spectrum who come together to find solutions to youth crime.
The group had a special session on music and youth offenders which our CEO Mark Davyd and project managers Jo Bates and Jack Kingslake attended. Jack and Jo both have been working with youth offenders for many years through Rhythmix and other organisations, and have transformed the lives hundreds of young people in the process.
Alongside Rhythmix, Young Offenders Institutions, charities and other related organisations were invited to parliament to consider how music can support young people at risk of offending and reducing reoffending rates.
The group heard first-hand accounts of successful outcomes through music, such as our long standing work with Youth Offending Teams across the South East. The meeting also discussed further steps Parliamentarians and industry can take to encourage to use music as a tool for those at risk of committing crimes or who have already had interactions with the police.
The second APPG we have contributed to was the group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing. The APPG was seeking information on the evidence base for the impact of music interventions on health and wellbeing, including the latest research in neuroscience and benefits of music for people with dementia.
We joined forces with a variety of groups who use music in healthcare to form the National Alliance of Musicians in Healthcare. Through NAMIH worked to submit evidence to the APPG of the work of our Wishing Well programme. Wishing Well is working across hospitals, hospices and dementia assessment and treatment wards to bring live, interactive music making right to the bedside.
Jo White, Wishing Well programme manager brought her expertise to parliament to help inform the APPG. You can read a sample of NAMIH’s submission to the APPG’s inquiry here.
We submitted evidence on our Music in Mind programme which is available here from the hub for information and research on arts and health work in England and further afield, the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing.
It’s our mission to transform lives through music, and we firmly believe that getting involved in local and national politics is a way for more people to understand the universal benefits of music making. We look forward to seeing the policy coming out of these APPGs and how the conversations on healthcare and youth offending start to incorporate music making and the arts as a key component in both fields.