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Loud and Clear marks ten years of music making for adoptive and foster families

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Loud and Clear has reached a magnificent milestone. For ten years, the programme for care-experienced children, adoptive parents, and foster carers has supported families to delve into the benefits of music-making and make meaningful relationships.

Care-experienced children between 0 -7 years attend one of three weekly sessions – Foster Family Learning, Adoptive Family Learning, or Move on Up (for adopted 5-7 year-olds), led by Sage Gateshead Music Leaders.

Laura and her adopted son Oliver discovered Loud and Clear in 2017. At adoption training, she met other families who said brilliant things about the group. She was curious to bring Oliver along.

“Oliver has special needs, which means his behaviour can be unpredictable,” she says. “I didn’t know how he would react and how other people would react to him. But everyone was so friendly.”

In the first couple of sessions, Oliver played in the corner of the room.

“Oliver is non-verbal, but the music and singing caught his attention, and he started to hum the tunes,” says Laura.

After a recommendation from Adopt North East in 2021, Kat and her adopted daughter Poppy started coming to Loud and Clear. From the first session, Kat knew Loud and Clear was the right place for them.

“We like trying classes and new activities, so I wasn’t nervous about coming,” says Kat. “We’ve been to many different places, but Loud and Clear is the only class we have kept coming to.”

From the first session, Laura felt at home with the Loud and Clear team.

“It doesn’t matter whether your child is having a good or bad day,” Laura says. “They can burn off energy or have a cuddle in the corner if they want.”

“The Music Leaders take their lead from what Oliver shows an interest towards,” she says. They’re free to explore the instruments and move around the room.”

Over ten years, the sessions have supported the children to socialise. The confidence of both Poppy and Oliver has soared in other areas of their lives. Poppy’s musical ability has come on.

“She likes to sing the songs we learn, and her rhythm has improved.” Says Kat.

“Oliver’s much more confident now. If you see him in a group, he’s a different child,” says Laura. “He laughs and likes to play with the toys and instruments. It’s little things, but they’re big leaps for Oliver.”

Laura takes comfort from chatting with other people experiencing a similar situation. Isolation can melt away.

“I have bonded with other families,” she says. “We’ve been through the same process and training, so it’s a really supportive space.”

“There’s a lovely sense of community, and it’s brilliant fun for the children,” says Kat.
  • Loud and Clear is funded by Youth Music, and other charitable trusts and foundations, and is in partnership with the Children’s Services Teams at Newcastle, Gateshead Local Authorities, Adopt North East, and Adoption Tees Valley
  • Please note: all names have been changed in this article
  • Illustrations by Lily Mae Kroese

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