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Mark your calendars On November 23rd, Changing Tunes will be putting on a free concert at St Matthew’s Church in Bristol. We’d love to see everyone join us for a great evening of music collaboration by our musicians and ex-prisoners that we work with. For more information, please visit our website.

Koestler awards Alan Hamer

Bike ride This summer our friend Alan Hamer rode more than 800 miles in support of Changing Tunes – raising £1,000 as he did it! Here’s what he has to say about the ride: In November 2012, at the age of 67 I retired from 27 years as a self-employed driving instructor. It’s not an occupation that lends itself to getting much exercise so I was hoping to spend some of my free time improving my fitness. David Williams, my brother-in-law, asked me if I’d be interested in cycling from Land’s End to John o’Groats with him in the summer of 2013. With some initial reservations about whether I could reach the appropriate level of fitness I agreed to the challenge as it would give a focus to my training. If I was to raise sponsorship for the ride the obvious choice of a charity for me to support was Changing Tunes because of my son Gareth’s involvement. Averaging 70 miles a day on the bike for 15 days was quite a challenge and two of those days were particularly difficult to get through. Reaching our goal, as well as raising £1,000, gave us a terrific sense of achievement as you can imagine!

This year Changing Tunes won a record 48 Koestler Awards for recordings done throughout our 11 prisons this year. ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’, a choral

Sign up to our e-newsletter So much happens between these bi-annual newsletters that we’ve begun sending out bi-monthly mini newsletters via email to keep our supporters updated on what’s going on in the charity. If you’re interested in signing up, let us know by popping us an email or giving us a call.

recording facilitated by Musician in Residence Nancy Parker in HMP Bronzefield, won Changing Tunes’ first Platinum Award – making this a truly landmark year for the charity at the Koestler Awards. To listen to this and other award-winning recordings, visit: http://www.changingtunes.

Changing Tunes

needs Are you interested in joining us in the work we do with prisoners on the inside and post-release? We need people who want to use their musical abilities to build relationships with prisoners and ex-prisoners as we seek to help them rebuild their lives and explore their potential. We also need volunteers in our offices in Bristol, helping us run the crucial ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of the charity. If you’re interested, email us at or give us a call at 0844 414 6083.

Filling the cracks with gold!

The Changing Tunes Newsletter Autumn 13­­­

It is a tradition in Japan to aggrandize broken objects by filling the mended item’s cracks with gold. They do this as they believe that a damaged object has a history, and this history makes it more beautiful.


Out There Concert In July we sent a small team of musicians and ambassadors to join the Out There Music choir and orchestra for their summer concert in a packed St Alban’s church. Out There Music have kindly made us their nominated charity for the year, and it was a pleasure to join such a big, lively group for the event. If you missed the concert there’s another chance to catch us and them together at Bristol’s prestigious St George’s Brandon Hill on 9th February 2014. For more info on Out There Music, including a clip of the summer concert, visit

Changing Tunes, PO Box 2646, Bristol BS6 9BU Telephone 0844 414 6083 email: © Changing Tunes Charity No. 1144789

his struck me as a marvellous metaphor for our work. Changing Tunes is not just about preventing reoffending; it is about helping people to find real purpose and value in their lives. So often this purpose is built on their experiences in prison. It is also a metaphor for us all. Life will always have its hard times, and we are all broken in some way. Yet it is from this ‘breaking’ that we become something of worth. It is interesting to ponder why we usually seek the easy path, when it is the hard one that may teach us more! As Frank Clark wrote: If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. Running a charity cannot be described as a path without obstacles, particularly over the last five years of nationwide financial crisis. Yet it has been the most rewarding experience of my working life. Rather unbelievably it is eight years since I took over as Director. Over that period we have made some fantastic progress, having seen the work grow by 400%, as well as developing new ways of working with prisoners both in prison and after release.

In particular I am delighted to be able to report the launch of our first franchise, in London and the South East. Overleaf you can read more about this exciting development from its newly appointed Director, Philip Emery. As you may be aware we have been working on our franchising programme for a couple of years, so it tremendously rewarding to see it finally coming into place. By 2020 we aim to have six regional franchises covering the country, enabling us to work in 100 prisons and with 4,000 prisoners and more than 500 ex-prisoners per year.

Hate Mail! Yet even with this tremendous progress to report, I unfortunately need to inform you that Changing Tunes is currently going through its most difficult financial period ever. So much so that without increased support from individuals and groups our future looks in doubt. Unfortunately working with prisoners is not a popular cause. This was made clear to me recently when a lawyer told me he received “virtual hate mail” from his colleagues after suggesting the firm adopt Changing Tunes as their nominated charity.

In an environment like this, fundraising methods open to most charities just do not work for us. We have known this for a while and have been trying to develop new funding sources, and we are making some progress. Unfortunately we are doing this at a time when so many charities that used to receive government funding are now competing against us for voluntary funding. I recently sent you an appeal letter asking for your support to help us through this difficult time. It would be such a great help if you were able to you join us as we move towards our goal working across the whole of the UK. You can do this by making a special donation today, as a small charity your support will make a real impact. Please see enclosed for advice on how to give. With grateful thanks and best wishes,


The power of music cannot be under estimated… Changing Tunes in London and the South East: C “a future filled with possibility”

hanging Tunes has established a first class reputation for its work and achievements, and the opportunity to bring that excellence and reputation to London and the South East is a daunting and exciting challenge. Four months into the work, I want to update you – who, through your support, made this happen – on our progress, and give you a glimpse of where we’re headed.

In August I became Director (and first official employee) of Changing Tunes’ London & South East Franchise. It has been a rollercoaster of a ride since then. This franchise is many years of hard work in the making. I am privileged to be joining this work and supporting the vision of changing people’s lives through relationships built with music.

Why franchising? Changing Tunes is expanding its work through the creation of a number of regional franchises which will, in essence, be ‘clones’ of the existing organisation.

still retaining what we see as our distinguishing characteristics: commitment from staff, local ownership, low administration costs and an entrepreneurial ‘can-do’ culture.

We decided to grow through franchising as we wish to increase the number of prisoners and ex-prisoners we work with, but we do not want to grow into a national charity with its associated costs. We want to grow locally, empowering and training locallybased people and groups to replicate our work, and ultimately take control and ownership of it.

Each franchise will be their own charity with their own board of trustees, etc., but will retain an important link to Changing Tunes as a whole. As we grow, you’ll begin to see more and more regions represented on our website. Each of

these regions will represent a new franchise, and supporters will be able to find out more about the specific branch of the charity in their local area. It’s an exciting vision that we hope will have us working in 100 prisons by 2020. If you’re interested in learning more about our franchising plans, or think you might want to get involved, we’re happy to send you information if you email us at

We see our role as catalysts, training and enabling individuals to replicate what we have already proven to work, but giving them the local control and ownership to manage and develop this work in the long-term. Franchising has been chosen as the best way for us to grow while

listening to a performance or in someone finding out about our work for the first time. It has been fascinating to renew acquaintances and meet new people, all of whom want to be part of the development of Changing Tunes (London & South East) in one way or another.

There are several strands of work all running at once to establish the franchise as a charity working in prisons and the community within this region. There are the legal aspects of creating a charity, as well as raising its profile and building the networks necessary to begin the work in prisons and within the community. All of this is underpinned by the need to ensure that sufficient funding is in place.

It is important to raise the profile of Changing Tunes in a region where our work and its many achievements are less well known. Beyond generating interest, it places Changing Tunes on the map of arts and criminal justice work in the area. Valuable contacts at the highest of levels have already been provided, which could lead to potential patrons for the charity, funding and sponsorship and a wider range of opportunities for prisoners returning to the community on release.

A key task, early on, has been to identify and engage the first members of the board of trustees, without whom the application for charitable status cannot be completed. Far from being a merely practical task, however, engaging with key people to share our work has been a very rewarding experience and I have been encouraged by the positive responses I have received toward what we are doing. Many people and organisations are very keen to be involved.

We cannot be said to have achieved anything unless our work establishes itself in prisons in the area. This is going well so far and very successful meetings have taken place at HMP Wandsworth and HMP Wormwood Scrubs, planting the seeds for us to introduce Changing Tunes in the prisons as soon as possible. We also have other referrals to prisons in London and the South East to follow up as the word is spreading about our plans.

Meeting people is at the centre of what Changing Tunes does, whether in the community or in a prison. The transformative power of music can be seen in a prisoner participating in a Changing Tunes session, in an audience

Changing Tunes in London and the South East has the opportunity not only to continue to change the lives of those who will take part in the charity’s work in prisons and communities in the region but also to be a part of a thriving

arts sector linked to criminal justice in the capital city and its environs. In whatever we do and strive for, we are stronger working together: we have the potential to grow and make a real impact in a challenging environment as advocates – ensuring that the unique power of the arts is not marginalized, but continues to reach those who are marginalized. My early work for Changing Tunes took place in August, and an inspirational backdrop for it was the music of the BBC Proms. Whether listening to the radio, watching on television or attending in person, music-making of the highest standard can only be a perfect spur to bringing the plans for Changing Tunes in London and the South East to fruition. Earlier I referred to the transformative power of music and I cannot do better than to finish with words from the speech of American conductor, Marin Alsop at the Last Night of the Proms: “The power of music cannot be under-estimated. It’s what makes us human beings, it’s what makes us nations, it’s what makes us a great civilisation. We cannot forget that ever. And music and art cannot be pushed to the margins: they have to be front and centre.” Going on to talk about its value in education she added: “…Believe in yourselves, follow your passion and never give up because you will create a future filled with possibility.”

Changing Tunes Autumn 2013 Newsletter  

Autumn 2013 Newsletter from Changing Tunes