Sinfonia Viva – the Derby-based professional orchestra of the East Midlands – has been awarded further funding by BBC Children in Need to expand its creative work with children and young people who have long-term illnesses or special educational needs.

The three-year project, supported by £119,265 Children in Need funding, will start this Autumn and involve hundreds of young people across the East Midlands. 

Creative work will focus on improving young people’s emotional wellbeing, developing self-belief and building self-esteem for the future – as well as providing them in a fun and enjoyable experience.

This latest project run by the Orchestra, which has a national reputation for its innovative education and community outreach work, means that it has received nine years of continued funding from Children in Need.

Previous successful programmes have included Sinfonia Viva ‘Fever’ music sessions for children in hospital with long-term illnesses.

These will be expanded under the new programme with 16 half-day music making sessions at hospitals in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottingham as well as at Rainbows Children’s Hospice.

Thanks to the latest funding, Viva has designed a sensory tour around the East Midlands with musicians working 1-2-1 with children and young people at special educational needs’ (SEND) schools.

Furthermore, a programme of eight performances around the region will also give pupils at SEND schools the opportunity to perform their creative work alongside Sinfonia Viva’s chamber orchestra for family, friends and the wider community.

This builds on the success of creative projects with SEND schools in Derby as part of the This is Derby programme and in Leicestershire.

Sinfonia Viva Education Manager Marianne Barraclough said:  “We are utterly delighted that BBC Children in Need have awarded us this funding, which will enable us to work creatively with some of the most disadvantaged young people across the East Midlands over the next three years.”

She continued: “Feedback from those involved shows how much our work helps young people concentrate for longer, communicate more effectively and gain a huge sense of achievement and confidence through creating and performing music.

“We have seen first-hand that live music can have miraculous health and stress relief benefits for children in hospital and we have been able to experience the impact that sensory music play has had with SEN groups.”  

 “The power of music is truly remarkable. There can be a tendency to subconsciously make assumptions about young people with additional needs. But with our project work we unlock self-expression and enable children to achieve far beyond their expectations and the expectations that others so often have for them.”

“We can’t wait to get started on this next phase of this brilliant programme of work.”