News Story

The UK’s largest music therapy charity, Nordoff and Robbins, has today announced a partnership with Manchester based multidisciplinary arts venue, Contact, which will see a Nordoff and Robbins trained music therapist placed in residence for the first time ever, to support Contact’s music team in delivering music programmes to young people that identify as disabled.

The partnership will allow Contact to work with even more young people with additional needs from local Pupil Referral Units (PRU), and through its Accessible Music Programme (AMP) delivered in partnership with HOME Manchester and Digit Music, created to help young people connect through music making.

One of the charity’s trained music therapists will join Contact via the Nordoff and Robbins Graduate Employment Scheme, following graduating from its Master of Music Therapy training programme as part of the most recent Manchester cohort.

The music programmes offered will include ‘Studio School’, supporting young people between 11 – 16 years old to re-engage back into mainstream education through creative workshops around creating music; the ‘Accessible Music Programme’, that sees young people aged 18 – 30 who identify as disabled play music, mix, produce and record their own music, leading up to a mini-performance; and ‘Music Drop’, which provides a safe space for young people to drop in to Contact’s music studios to create their own music, mixing, producing and recording their own tracks as a solo performer or within a group.

To support outreach and engagement in the local area, the music therapist will also assist with drop in sessions in schools, PRUs and Secure Units to explain Contact’s work and deliver ‘Pop Up Beats’ sessions, engaging students in creative music education within these settings.

“We are so proud to be partnering with Contact to place the first-ever music therapist in residence at this incredible venue. Next year we will be celebrating 20 years since we started delivering music therapy in Manchester, so to be able to work with young people in the area and help them connect through music-making is vitally important to us. Contact’s ethos and mission resonates with us in so many ways, and we look forward to seeing how this partnership evolves over time.”

Nadra Shah, Director of Engagement and Communications, Nordoff and Robbins

The partnership forms part of a wider strategy for Nordoff and Robbins in the North of England, with the recently launched Northern Music Awards helping to raise funds for a new dedicated music therapy centre for Greater Manchester – based in Salford – serving the needs of individuals and diverse Northern communities, connecting with some of the region’s most isolated people.

"We are delighted to embark on this inspiring partnership with Nordoff and Robbins Music Therapy. Through our collaborative efforts, we aim to nurture creativity, foster inclusion, and break down barriers, ensuring that every young person has the opportunity to find their voice and express themselves through the incredible medium of music. Contact is committed to changing the face of UK culture through genuine investment and the right infrastructure, and this partnership exemplifies our shared vision and dedication to making a difference in the lives of those we serve."

Keisha Thompson, Artistic Director and CEO of Contact

With a unique approach shaped by more than 60 years of practice, Nordoff and Robbins' trained music therapists harness the power of music, helping to break through the barriers caused by life-limiting illness, disability and social isolation, creating space for people to express themselves and find connection in society.​ Its work can be transformative, from an adult with dementia reconnecting with family, to a child with autism finding their voice.

The North of England is currently the charity’s biggest service area, with 45 music therapists and 118 partner organisations providing nearly 20,000 sessions of vital music therapy to more than 4,300 people in the region.