Re: All Inclusive Music
We are a residential care community set in a 52 acre, rural landscape in Devon; we cater for people with a wide variety of learning disabilities including those on the autistic spectrum. The people we support can be divided up into three categories
a) Stallcombe House ~ a home and activity based environment for 27 adults with a range of care & support needs.
b) Willows ~ a home and activity based environment for six adults with high support and care needs.
c) 46 day placement guests, who live out in the wider community, however come to us to participate in the variety of activities we have on offer Monday through to Friday.
One of our most popular activities is the weekly music workshops facilitated by Paul and Claire from All Inclusive Music. Paul and Claire started their music workshops at Stallcombe around two years ago and have steadily built up a strong following of participants from the people we support. Paul and Claire provide an excellent opportunity for the people we support to freely express themselves and feel valued. At times, it can be hard for people with learning disabilities or who are on the autistic spectrum to feel that they have choice and control in their lives however, like us, it is extremely important that they do have choices and control to enable them to maintain both their physical and emotional wellbeing. Paul and Claire have made these two things the centre of their workshops, everyone who attends is positively encouraged by Paul and Claire to make choices throughout the session, wait their turn and to have control about what the session is going to involve. This is achieved in a fun, enjoyable way and appears to come very naturally to both Paul and Claire and positively promotes inclusion and empowerment for all.
Some of the people we support have very complex needs and can find it hard to be part of a group and feel included. Paul and Claire’s approach is gentle, warm and welcoming without being challenging or obtrusive. This manner has enabled some of the more complex people to dip in and out of the workshop as and when they want without feeling pressured. Some people who in the beginning could maybe only stay in the session for a few minutes now stay for the whole hour; this sort of thing is a huge achievement for some individuals and has been made possible by the commitment and compassion shown by both Paul and Claire.
For some group sessions remain too much for some individuals, to ensure that their music workshop is available to all Paul and Claire now facilitate some 1:1 sessions. This has enabled some to express themselves through music that may have missed out because they were unable to cope with a group environment.
Paul and Claire have also started to facilitate 1:1 sessions for some of the people we support who have found, through Paul and Claire, that they have a talent and natural affiliation with music and in some cases particular instruments.
All Inclusive Music has become a very important activity that we provide for the people we support and the service Paul and Claire deliver is invaluable. Consistency and routine in the lives of people with learning disabilities is fundamental to their wellbeing, however consistency and routine are another two things that Paul and Claire provide in abundance. With their vibrant, animated and enthusiastic approach, we have seen significant achievements from the people we support; we have watched people’s confidence grow and some have chosen to purchase their own instruments, which they use regularly to entertain others within the community of Stallcombe House and Willows.
We look forward to continuing our association with All Inclusive Music and wait with anticipation to see what new ventures Paul and Claire can offer us in the future.
Christine Jarman – Deputy General Manager, Stallcombe House