22 Jun 2022

Charity receives national accolade


Birmingham charity Services For Education has received the highest award in the Arts, Culture and Heritage category in The Charity Awards 2022 for the education and training work it provided during the pandemic.

The Charity Awards is the sector 's most highly regarded excellence recognition scheme with all 30 shortlisted charities judged by an independent panel of industry influencers as having demonstrated best practice in leadership and management, from which other organisations can learn.

The award was presented at a black-tie ceremony attended by the UK 's leading and most innovative charities and also broadcast live from Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

Services For Education - which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary - employs more than 200 staff in Birmingham delivering music tuition to children, and expert training and development to teaching and school support staff.

Part-funded by the Arts Council, England it also has its own fund-raising and subsidised commercial operations.

Its music service, one of the largest in the country, works with 93 per cent of Birmingham schools and each year teaches music to nearly 38,000 children - as well as running 97 free ensembles and providing 27,000 musical instruments free-of-charge so all children have access to playing and enjoying music together.

But as Covid-19 swept across the country, Services For Education saw all of its delivery channels shut off.

Determined that the show must go on, the charity 's staff acted quickly to shift services online, creating hundreds of hours of virtual tutorials and tuition plus hosting online concerts.

Services For Education 's School Support Service, which provides expert training and development to teaching and support staff in nearly 600 schools in the West Midlands and increasingly across England, moved entirely online during the pandemic.

Sharon Bell, Services For Education 's chief executive, said: “Training for schools and for teachers, and using music to inspire children, works best when you bring people together - but the pandemic put a stop to that.

“Instead, our brilliant staff moved mountains to work differently - to do the right thing for Birmingham 's young people and its communities, supporting from afar instead of in-person. The results were outstanding.

“I am delighted that the tremendous efforts our team made have been recognised by Services For Education receiving this great accolade - and particularly so in our tenth anniversary year. ”

Pictured: Sharon Bell (left) and chair Sarah Smith