There are a lot of different disability organisations in Scotland that do a lot of good work, but sometimes they go unrecognised.
I got to know about this organisation a few years ago – they are called Limelight Music. The organisation is the Scottish Equalities Professional Music Training and Production Company, which has been running for over 25 years. They aim to deliver high quality inclusive music projects across Scotland and in Europe.
Limelight Music are the largest employer of disabled musicians in Scotland and have 2 main aims:
- To address current inequality by creating pathways to employment for people with impairments within the performing arts
- To enhance employment prospects for disabled people by implementing early intervention music projects within school
Limelight's office is based in Glasgow and they collaborate with local authorities, schools, musicians, music producers, and mainstream theatre companies to create new projects in education and in the education and entertainment industries. They also provide music training session for over 1200 school pupils and 30 disabled adults through each year. Over half of Limelight’s 16 workshops tutors and leaders are themselves highly skilled and talented disabled musicians.
In 1989 as part of the build up to Glasgow becoming the European city of culture, Gordon Dougall was employed as musical director/composer on ‘City’ (written by John McGrath, directed by Alan Lyddiard, and commissioned by Bob Palmer for Glasgow City Council). While working on this production, Gordon observed that a number of people with disabilities were brought into the project very late in the process, giving them less opportunity to participate fully.
In the course of project, Gordon recognised that the disabled participants needed specialised help and resources in order to be fully involved in music actives. The following year, Gordon raised money with the Orpheus trust to create music courses specifically designed for disabled people.
This later led to the formation of Sounds of Progress, a charity that specialised in being able to adapt existing educational techniques to devise a fully inclusive training programme for people with disability. The charity changed its name to Limelight music in 2010 on the advice of the in-house professional musicians with impairments who felt the company needed a new vision, direction and image as a building-based music production and training organisation.
Last November I myself became the latest addition to their team, working with them one day a week on their website and also helping to promote the organisation in social media and press.