The North Yorkshire Music Therapy Centre aims to play a growing role in the life and well-being of the community through its work with individuals and groups, and to provide the local area with a significant resource.
We provide music therapy and group music sessions both in our own premises and across the region. Our Centre, the Byre, provides a calm welcoming space where people can meet in a safe environment, experience the power of music and, through exploration and self-expression, encourage people to achieve their own personal goals.
We are here to support individuals, and to make them feel valued members of the community.
The North Yorkshire Music Therapy Centre was established in 1989 by Mary Abbotson and her husband. In 1990 it became a registered charity no 702533.
Mary was a trained music therapist and aimed to create a community-based mobile service.
Due to North Yorkshire’s geographic and social background, she set up a van as a mobile music therapy room.
As North Yorkshire is such a big rural area, many clients found it difficult to travel long distances for their music therapy sessions.
A few years later, the Charity started to deliver outreach sessions, focusing its activities in clinical setting like hospitals, SEN schools and hospices.
In 1992, Felicity North took the role of Head Music Therapist and Angela Harrison was appointed as a part-time therapist. Together they introduced music therapy to two psychiatric hospitals in York (Stockton Hall and The Retreat) and worked with children in special education schools and adults with learning and physical disabilities in day centres.
In 1999, Angela stepped up to lead the team. With the trustees, she set up a restricted fund, Music, My Voice, and over the years raised more than £350,000 to fund or subsidise music therapy sessions for children.
Throughout the years, the Charity has received recognition such as the GlaxoSmithKline and Kings Fund IMPACT Award, High Commendation of the HRH Duke of York’s Community Initiative Award and Special Leadership Award.
While continuing its outreach work in clinical setting, in 2019, under the lead of the new Director Laura Festa, the Charity has moved to include more community-based interventions.
Our new premises, the Byre, now serves as our hub, providing space for an office, community activities, training workshops and clinical sessions.