All Together Now, a Birmingham-based music club for children with special educational needs (SEN) and their families, will close unless the charity that runs it, Live Music Now, can find more funding.
What could be the last of the monthly sessions took place last Sunday [November 11].
All Together Now sessions provided an opportunity for children with SEN and their families to enjoy live music in an environment where they could feel comfortable. About 30 families in the Birmingham area attended the club.
Additionally, the sessions gave siblings of children with disabilities, who often have more responsibility than other children their age, the chance to mix with other children in their position. Likewise, parents of children with SEN also valued the opportunity the sessions gave them to connect with other families in similar circumstances.
The All Together Now sessions were funded by a National Lottery Grant as well as grants from Baron Davenport’s Charity and the Grantham Yorke Trust. However unless the funding is renewed, Live Music Now will not be able to continue the sessions.
The group has helped children with learning disabilities to discover hidden musical talents. For example, 7-year old Ruby Squire-Wood, who has Down's syndrome, was admired by a visiting Jazz group whilst clapping along to a complicated rhythm. Her parents have since encouraged her to take part in music and dancing but there are limited opportunities for children with SEN to enjoy live music in a safe environment suited to their needs. The All Together Now sessions also provided an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy music together.
“We've met so many families through All Together Now and the children have just loved being able to play with each other.” says Emma Tucker of Solihull, mother of Esme, 7, Joel, 5, and Albie, 3. “It will be a shame for the children to lose contact with the friends that they have made at the sessions.”