Plymouth Music Zone (PMZ) began 20 years ago with two musicians working out of a cupboard in a local school. Two decades on, it has an increasing international reputation as a flagship community music charity with a team of over 20 people passionately committed to using music to create social impact.
To date, PMZ has worked with around 70,000 children and 20,000 adults. The youngest participant being eight days old and the oldest 104 years. It has delivered 50,000 workshops and 2,000 performances to audiences of 600,000, employing 450 people during that time and bringing in a much needed £7 million into the city of Plymouth. But it’s about more than numbers – it’s about the depth and reach of the work. PMZ embeds itself in the bigger social picture working across sectors with health, social care, education and community partners, reaching up to 1,000 people a week – 95% of whom wouldn’t ordinarily engage with the arts.
PMZ musically infuses every corner of the community in places as diverse as nurseries, children’s centres, special schools, a domestic abuse refuge, psychiatric units, homeless sheltered accommodation, hospice bereavement support and other places in the community including residential settings and rehabilitation units – wherever there is identified need.
The project works with children and families who’ve experienced traumatic events and circumstances including domestic abuse, sexual violence, addiction and those navigating health challenges including dementia, brain injury and life-limiting illnesses. It also helps tackle isolation by creating new musical communities for refugees and asylum seekers and, most recently, the first LGBT+ choir in Plymouth.
PMZ is a living, breathing example of a small, locally based charity that embodies compassionate, inclusive leadership that genuinely creates ways of running an organisation to enable successful engagement with a diverse range of people.
Photo credit: Kevin Clifford
Inspiring use of music to address a wide range of issues."
I greatly admire the ambition and broad reach of Plymouth Music Zone and the way the initiative seeks to connect people and ideas."
PMZ has a very focused determination to help disadvantaged children, young people and vulnerable adults in the community of Plymouth through music."
What a wonderful enterprise. The impact on Plymouth Music Zone’s users is plain to see from the figures and the testimonials, and the Beyond Words evaluation truly groundbreaking and innovative. Long may this fantastic organisation grow and thrive."
The Plymouth Music Zone has an incredibly impressive reach, and a focus on so many of the vulnerable groups and individuals in our communities. It’s clear that working with you has allowed so many people, of all ages, to find another route to deal with their personal challenges. I just felt so inspired after reading about the work that you do."
Plymouth Music Zone are a worthy winner. A hugely impressive project, which answers a local and a human need – to emerge into and engage with the world - through the universal power of music. Impressive evaluation and a long and wide group of partners make it strong."
I particularly loved the 'Beyond Words' initiative from this wonderful charity, designed for those who find communicating difficult, and helping them embrace the vital non-verbal language we use, including silence."
A powerful example of arts, social care, health and enterprise working together to make a meaningful difference to lives."
Plymouth Music Zone has clearly developed a cohesive community project which has had a visible, long-term impact for people in the Plymouth area. The partnerships they have forged are particularly impressive."