Soundwell Music Therapy Trust

The Ashfords Foundation has awarded another significant grant, this time to the Bristol based music therapy charity, Soundwell Music Therapy Trust.

Soundwell is the UK’s only specialist adult mental health music therapy charity. Since 2002, they have used music to help people in the South West whose lives are seriously affected by mental illness. The charity supports people in their mental health recovery and provides emotional support to carers, using music to explore creativity, communication and expression –  this can rebuild hope and transform lives. They deliver long and short-term therapy groups, and one-off workshops, supporting vulnerable adults to transform their lives.

Since 2018 the charity has provided services to some of Bristol’s most deprived communities. They are now developing a strong, sustainable base in Knowle/Filwood from which to build their activities in the city.

The grant of £13,500 over three years will help fund music therapy to Bristol residents experiencing severe mental health problems. The music sessions will vary in focus in order to meet the needs of Bristol's diverse population; series will include recovery, early intervention, singing for wellbeing, carers and a drop-in session.

Mental health support is desperately needed in Bristol: 9.7% of South Bristol residents suffer from depression; there were 1,345 self-harm admissions to A&E in 2015/16; Bristol’s suicide rate is significantly higher than the England average. Music therapy provided by Soundwell enables participants to take control of their lives and move back into society, offering a way forward for people immobilised by symptoms such as paranoid thoughts or social anxiety.

Soundwell’s CEO, Glyn Berwick, said: “Soundwell has been providing music therapy for adults experiencing mental health difficulties across the South West for the last 18 years, but it is only this year that we have established ourselves in Bristol. We’re really thrilled to have received this important grant from the Ashfords Foundation to help us build on our work in the city, ensuring we can support as many people as possible on their journey to better mental health.

The Ashfords Foundation has been established with very clearly defined objectives to support smaller charities and community organisations through two grant programmes: Supporting Communities and Preserving Communities. The first offers one off grants of up to £750, while the second supports established charities and not-for-profit organisations develop a solid foundation for the future, helping them build sustainability for the long term with grants of up to £5k. In each case, the project for which funding is sought should be local to one of Ashfords’ offices in Exeter, Bristol, London, Plymouth, Tiverton and Taunton. Further details are on the Foundation’s website:

Rory Suggett, a Trustee of the Foundation said“We wanted to see how we might make a real difference in the communities in which the partners and employees of Ashfords live and work. As a result we set up the Ashfords Foundation last year. This has not only allowed us to bring together all of Ashfords' charitable giving but it has also helped build a sense of common purpose among our people. I am delighted that we have been able to support Soundwell Music Therapy Trust with this grant.”

Below is a short video from Soundwell thanking the Ashfords Foundation for their generosity. 

To find out more about Soundwell Music Therapy Trust please click here