An outstanding example of community music in action

An outstanding example of community music in action

Our charity, Arts Without Boundaries [AwB], was registered a year ago, in December 2018, and our vision is a world where disabled people participate fully in society and are recognised for their talent and diversity.

Our story began in 2011 with a project called Band Without Boundaries [BwB]. This was formed in partnership with a charity that was supporting people with learning disabilities to access mainstream activities and a local group of jazz musicians.

Since then, BwB has met monthly to make music, whether it be their own arrangements of existing music or creating a new composition.

We welcome all instruments, including voice, and all abilities and genres. The result is a fusion of skills and backgrounds that gives us our unique sound.

As the project grew, membership continued to diversify, and now includes people with mental health challenges and those facing long-term disadvantage and social isolation.

Our sessions are free to attend and we perform to the general public at events and concerts at least once every year.

The aims of Arts Without Boundaries are to support the social inclusion of people with disabilities, and other disadvantaged groups, through mainstream community arts projects, ensuring neither disability nor financial hardship is a barrier to participation.

Through our community projects we develop positive perceptions about disability by enabling disabled and non-disabled people to create, perform and exhibit works together. This approach encourages social interaction and leads to better communication, friendships and stronger communities.

To fulfil our aims, we have developed inclusive and accessible practices in the arts and formed associations with other organisations and with volunteers.

We recognise the Social Model of Disability, which states that a person is not disabled by their condition but by the barriers in society, including physical and access, attitudinal and organisational. We are committed to breaking down those barriers.

Since becoming a charity, we have won two awards: The Sevenoaks District Equalities Champion Award and The Gerald Truly
Award for benefits to the community.

We do all we can to make our projects and activities accessible by offering them free of charge and providing suitable venues, accessible information and personal support for our beneficiaries when required. As a result, we are always seeking funding to continue both BwB sessions and for our more recent projects.

We are grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for funding our consultation project ‘Connecting Communities’ and to Kent Community Foundation and The Gatwick Foundation Fund for the their support of BwB.

We always receive wonderful feedback from our audiences, with people saying such things as ‘An outstanding example of community music in action’; ‘a feelgood performance combining the exuberance of participation with outrageous musicianship’; ‘a visionary example of what can be achieved’; and ‘I loved it – there was such a great atmosphere and great music’.

The Spirit of Jazz concert, organised by one of our members, will take place this Saturday at Trinity Theatre in aid of Band Without Boundaries and Musicians Without Borders. Our band will be performing alongside Last Summer’s Tealights and the West Kent Big Band.

We will also be performing with The Invicta Jazz Orchestra on February 22 next year at The Pamoja Hall, Sevenoaks, to raise funding.

Do come along, we would love to see you!

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