Partner with us
We work with a range of organisations including other charities and public sector commissioners. Please contact us if you are interested in finding out more about working with us.
open youth trust & nansa
The ‘Fast Forward’ programme was created in 2015 in response to the Norwich Youth Advisory Board’s call for projects that addressed the needs of vulnerable young people of Norwich and Norfolk.
We recognised that there was a lack of services available for young people on the ‘edge of disability services’; those with behavioural or emotional issues, or those whose disabilities were not deemed severe enough to enable access to certain statutary services.
Musical Keys teamed up with the OPEN Youth Trust and Norfolk and Norwich Scope Association (NANSA) to create ‘Fast Forward’; a three year project where blocks of four-weekly creative and practical activities were co-delivered by Musical Keys and OPEN, with professional and sensitive support from NANSA’s support staff.
Fast Forward remains one of the most successful examples of partnership work that we’ve participated in, where each organisation’s skills and specialisms were used effectively to enhance the experience of the service user. During the project we worked with over 30 young people, many of whom went on to employment and voluntary positions, and others to further education and vocational settings.
St Martin’s housing
Local housing association Broadland Housing approached Musical Keys as they were looking for creative opportunities to be delivered in a hostel in Norwich, working with a group of clients who were at risk of substance misuse and homelessness.
After lengthy consultation with service users and Broadland Housing management we devised ‘Jumpstart’, a weekly two-hour session where service users could participate in group music making and tuition, in a completely non-judgemental environment, and which wasn’t connected to any of the more formal services the client might be accessing.
Shortly into the project the hostel was taken over by St Martin’s Housing and due to changes in policy and procedure, the Jumpstart sessions were moved to the St Martin’s Housing central training and development hub, Under 1 Roof.
The project continued to be a success with participants creating more than 20 tracks including prog, hip hop, jazz and rock, and culminated in a recording session in a professional music studio. We really valued our partnership with St. Martin’s Housing not only in supporting us with training, advice and guidance, but also supporting the process of change in ownership with minimal impact to the project.
In 2014 we were approached by the Future Choices course leader at Easton College to enquire about providing music making opportunities for two groups of learners; one with young people experiencing behavioural problems (or at risk of exclusion) and another group of young people with learning disabilities.
We were commissioned to deliver a weekly two-hour session where - working closely with the Future Choices staff and tutors - specific outcomes for individuals could be achieved through engagement in creative activities, primarily in group singing and songwriting.
Since 2014 we have worked with two groups each academic year and have experienced significant improvements in academic engagements, increased confidence and self-esteem as well as improved musical and instrumental abilities.
The culmination of the summer 2018 term saw two groups record an album of original material and perform that material on stage to an audience of fellow students.
norfolk and norwich university hospital
For over 20 years Musical Keys have provided a fortnightly music session for children within the Buxton Ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).
Hospital visits for children are often stressful and anxious experiences where the clinical environment and general hustle of activity can cause additional trauma on top of the primary reason for being in hospital.
Participatory music activities are a proven method to not only provide distraction and moments of joy in an otherwise stressful environment, but can also contribute to the improved well being of patients (as evidenced here) .
We work in close collaboration with ward staff, nurses, play specialists and doctors to ensure that the specific needs of each patient on the ward are met and that all engagement is as meaningful as possible.
"The healing power of music was really incredible to watch. It was clear to see that it distracts from pain, relaxes and comforts, reduces the stress and the boredom of long hospital stays, as well as empowering poorly children in an environment where they often feel they have no control over what is happening to them", Sara Shorten - Mental Capacity Act Lead, NNUH.
national autistic society
Musical Keys has had a fantastic relationship with the National Autistic Society (NAS) west Norfolk branch, having provided a range of activities for their members from traditional music sessions for Early Years, to being key partners in the music technology focused project ‘Equaliser’.
Our partnership with NAS has been a wonderful example of co-production where each organisation is able to focus on their expertise to achieve the best possible outcome for the service users, and where the voice of the service user has been present in every creative decision and activity that is made.
The needs and abilities of autistic people range significantly and so creating a service that meets the needs of each individual requires an approach that enables service users to feel supported in sharing their ideas and opinions.
Throughout the numerous partnership projects we have worked on, there have been many recordings and live performances of a wide range of music, the most recent collection of recordings ‘NAS&MK’ can be found on the ‘Listen and Watch’ page.
Surrounded by beautiful countryside in rural north Norfolk, Barrington Farm is a place where creativity and self expression is at the centre of the organisation’s ethos.
Their aim is to assist rather than to teach or instruct and to encourage and nurture individual talents. This gives each service user the chance to make their own creative decisions and explore their emotive responses to their chosen materials - a vision closely shared by Musical Keys.
In summer 2018 we teamed up with Barrington Farm to add a music activity to their already rich and varied programme. This partnership has been an example of realising a shared vision and adding value to a progressive and considered programme.
However, we are experienced in working with organisations and settings that have no creative offer or that are not experienced in the arts or creative industries; we are very happy to work alongside an already established scheme or working with organisations that have identified the need for a creative offer but require the support and guidance to realise it.
norwich millenium library
During summer of 2018 we met the Library Service’s Volunteer Manager at an event in preparation for the inaugural Disability Pride event. The library wanted to create better opportunities for disabled volunteers as well as making the library more accessible generally for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
We developed a pilot project aimed at young people of college age who were either at college part time, in part time day services or who had found themselves in the very common position of being in transition between children and adult services, without much to do.
Working closely with the library staff we were able to identify opportunities for disabled volunteers in supporting the group which would provide practical and physical skills, and also mentoring opportunities allowing the volunteer to become not only an essential part of the group but also invaluable in sharing their skills and experience with the rest of the group to support them in their creative journey.
Working with the library meant we were able to identify some significant needs and probable gaps in provision; That there was a lack of opportunity for disabled volunteers that were particularly interested in creative opportunities, that a large cohort of disabled teenagers had huge gaps in their weekly diaries, and that libraries are an ideal safe space where vulnerable people can find comfort, support and signposting.
norfolk county council - short breaks
In 2009 Musical Keys were approached to collaborate on the ‘Pathfinders’ scheme, led by Norfolk County Council. Working with the Children with Disabilities Team within Children’s Services, the scheme was designed to provide meaningful activities for 6 - 18 year old young people with complex needs and significant respite for their parents and carers.
The ‘Pathfinders’ scheme evolved to become ‘Short breaks’ in 2010. Working closely with Norfolk County Council, Musical Keys developed one it’s most successful and in demand programmes ‘Discovery Experience Arts’ (DXA). DXA provided a four hour session for up to 10 participants with complex needs, where multi-genre activities were delivered around a central framework or theme and each participant was supported by a dedicated care worker.
In addition to DXA we developed ‘Creative Connections’ to add to our Short breaks offer; five hour sessions for participants that require little support, where they create films, soundtracks and create original music. DXA and Creative Connections remains the only exclusively creative activity available via Short breaks and we feel fortunate to be able to achieve significant outcomes as required by NCC, through creative activity.