We are thrilled to announce the Sir Charles Groves Prize, awarded by Making Music for outstanding contribution to the musical life of the UK, was presented to Creative United’s ‘Take it away’ scheme, an initiative designed to make it easier and more affordable for people to buy musical instruments of all kinds.
Since its original inception as an Arts Council initiative 12 years ago, the 'Take it away' scheme has helped over 80,000 children and young people in England and Northern Ireland have access to musical instruments through £60m in interest free loans. Now operated by Creative United in partnership with Omni Capital Retail Finance, the scheme has recently been broadened to offer interest free loans to people of all ages, opening up leisure-time music making to even more people.
Barbara Eifler, Chief Executive of Making Music, presented the award to Creative United’s Chief Executive Mary-Alice Stack, on the performance stage at the Music and Drama Education Expo in London in March.
Barbara Eifler said:
"Take it away was an obvious choice for our Sir Charles Groves Prize. The scheme has always been a great help to young people and parents buying instruments for their children. By extending their offering of interest free loans on instrument purchases to over-25s, Creative United have significantly broken down one of the main barriers – cost – to adults taking up or returning to an instrument. The extension will enable more adults to take part in musical activity, and enjoy the now well-documented benefits this can bring to their lives and their community."
Mary-Alice Stack said:
“We are extremely proud and honoured that the impact and value of Take it away has been recognised by the awarding committee of the Sir Charles Groves Prize. We are absolutely delighted to have received this prestigious award, and hope that we can use this opportunity to raise awareness of the scheme and inspire even more people across the UK to get involved in learning and playing music.”
The scheme works with participating music shops to offer everything from 'traditional' instruments like the violin, clarinet, guitar and piano to contemporary equipment like synthesizers, drum machines, recording equipment, plus additional items such as cases, strings, reeds, sheet music or even tuition, if the shop offers it.
Check if you're eligible and find a participating store, visit the Take it away website.