by Author Debbie Geraghty

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Plymouth Music Zone puts people centre stage and becomes the first UK arts organisation to gain the latest Gold standard Investors in People award. 


Plymouth Music Zone has been awarded the latest GOLD accreditation against the international Investors in People standard seen as the height of excellence in people management.  It means the multi-award winning charity has now joined the ranks of the top 7% of accredited Investor in People businesses. Only one other organisation in the city of Plymouth has been recognised with Gold under the new tougher Gold standard introduced last year.

Plymouth Music Zone’s Chair of Trustees, Christine Redding, says it’s a delight to see such a small charity have such a big impact especially alongside some very established larger companies:

“I’m immensely proud of what the Plymouth Music Zone team have achieved over the years with their work using music in the community. It’s always been a real priority for us to make sure our staff are always well supported and developed so they can have the biggest possible impact on their participants as that’s why we’re here.  I’ve personally worked in the corporate sector for many years and have witnessed many a company but I have to say I’ve never seen such a passionate organisation as this one with such high standards of leadership excellence.”

Investors in People is the international standard for people management, defining what it takes to lead, support and manage people effectively to achieve sustainable results. Underpinning the Standard is the Investors in People framework, reflecting the latest workplace trends, essential skills and effective structures required to outperform in any industry. Investors in People enables organisations to benchmark against the best in the business on an international scale.

The Investors in People assessor, Julie-Ann Hayes, surveyed 97% of the Plymouth Music Zone 30 strong team over a period of 3 weeks and interviewed selected staff members face to face as well as examining all their processes and policies. She said:

“It was a privilege and pleasure to assess Plymouth Music Zone. Their values are understood by all who work and volunteer for the organisation.  Everyone understands the importance of diversity, inclusiveness and, having fun. Strong and inspirational leadership helps to enthuse and support people in their professional development. People are passionate about the purpose of the organisation and are very proud to work for PMZ. There is a strong sense of loyalty and people believe PMZ is 'A Great Place to Work'. The organisation is focused on continued improvement and making a positive difference to individuals and communities.”

Plymouth Music Zone was only last week awarded significant funding of £520,000 by Arts Council England to join its national portfolio of organisations over the next 4 years. This was off the back of the charity publishing landmark research with Plymouth University around its work using music to facilitate communication with many people with profound communication barriers including stroke, dementia, and a range of developmental disabilities. The report findings had international reach appearing as far afield as South America, Canada and South East Asia.   

Plymouth Music Zone’s Executive Director, Debbie Geraghty, says if there’s any secret to the local charity’s success it’s simple:

“When it comes down to it, it’s always about the people. We have a hugely passionate team who want to make a difference in the world and give their all every day. In this climate of cutbacks and squeezes on funding we’ve always taken the decision to stand tall and thanks to funders like Youth Music  we've increased our investment in our people considerably. We’ve developed them every step of the way and shown the vital importance of professional and compassionate leadership in bringing out the very best in people. It feels like such a perfect blend of head and heart at Plymouth Music Zone. I really believe that combination has potential for magic.”

The charity has also been entered into the Investors in People Gold Employer of the Year Awards which pitches the small Devonport organisation’s leadership practices against many larger businesses from across the UK. The result will be announced at a ceremony in London in November.   


Notes to Editors: Excerpt from the Investors in People Assessment report:

People believe PMZ is ‘A Great Place to Work’ and highlighted the following reasons: 

  • Flexible approach to working hours 
  • Trusting and open management style 
  • Support and encouragement for development 
  • Great teamwork 
  • Respect for individuals 
  • Peer Support 
  • Commitment to professional development 
  • Energetic and vibrant organisation 
  • Focus on the future 
  • Commitment to sustainability and change 
  • Focus on Centre of Excellence 
  • Diversity of projects and staff 
  • Fun and happy working environment 
  • Sense of pride 

The report quoted a staff member saying:

“Great is an understatement. PMZ is an inspirational place to work.”’ 

About Investors in People

Investors in People is the Standard for people management. The international people management Standard defines what it takes to lead, support and manage people well for sustainable results. With a community of 14,000 organisations across 75 countries, successful accreditation against the Standard is the sign of a great employer, an outperforming place to work and a clear commitment to sustained success.

Based on a tried and tested framework and a rigorous process of assessment, organisations that meet the Investors in People Standard proudly display their accreditation to the world because they understand that it’s people that make the difference. Since 1991, the standard has evolved to keep pace with modern practices. The current sixth generation was launched internationally in 2015. 

For more information about Investors in People please visit

Further information about Plymouth Music Zone

Plymouth Music Zone's work focuses on using music as a powerful tool to develop skills and the

health and emotional wellbeing of participants. For more information contact Debbie Geraghty,

PMZ’s Executive Director on 01752 213690.