A thousand unwanted musical instruments collected by the Hertfordshire charity to empower people with disabilities this Christmas

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A thousand unwanted musical instruments have been collected by a Hertfordshire-based charity that empowers people with disabilities through music.

Electric Umbrella, a charity founded in Watford, has set a goal of reaching 1,000 musical instruments to donate by Christmas.

The instruments will be reused or repaired by members, providing invaluable work experience and training opportunities to the disability community while adapting the instruments to make them more inclusive.

Read more: Get the latest Christmas news

The association made amazing instruments such as drum kits that attach to wheelchairs, banana pianos, and a drill guitar that was invented so that a band member could use their foot to play music. instrument.

Electric Umbrella was created five years ago by Mel Boda and Tom Billington to provide a platform for people with disabilities to learn to listen to live music and in doing so challenge perceptions of people with disabilities. in terms of learning.

They organize concerts, operas, musicals and even festivals.



The electric umbrella has been a lifeline for many people with intellectual disabilities and their families throughout the pandemic

Mel said: “We are absolutely delighted to have reached our goal of 1,000 instruments in time for Christmas.

“We were blown away by the generosity of our supporters, from bagpipes to a full band kit, from clarinets to guitars, we received so many amazing gifts from all over the country.

“Not only will this help us raise money for our work, but the campaign has given our members many opportunities to get involved – whether it’s helping out on fundraising trips or joining us in sorting out the treasure. musical.



The association hopes to empower people with intellectual disabilities to learn and provide them with work experience is one way to achieve this.
The association hopes to empower people with intellectual disabilities to learn and provide them with work experience is one way to achieve this.

“This involvement will continue into the New Year where members will play a key role in helping us reuse and resell these generous donations.

“The members will be part of the crew!

“We are passionate about creating meaningful opportunities for people with learning disabilities who too often are left behind, they are capable of so much and it is a privilege to be involved in their journeys. “

Other charities based in Hertfordshire supported the campaign by providing collection points, including Emmaus and Sunnyside Rural Trust.



Other Hertfordshire-based charities, including Emmaus Hertfordshire, provided donation points
Other Hertfordshire-based charities, including Emmaus Hertfordshire, provided donation points

Duncan Lewis, CEO of Emmaus Hertfordshire, said: “We are really happy to support Electric Umbrella with their 1000 instrument challenge. Upcycling, recycling and reuse are at the heart of the Emmaus philosophy, and by becoming a repository for this program, we will help give new life to many unwanted musical instruments.

Electric Umbrella member Ali Milne, who will work in the Instruments for Change program, said: “I think it has been a great success.

“I would like to say thank you and well done to everyone who helped us. I look forward to being part of the crew in January, and especially hitting the road to different schools!”

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