Changing Tunes is a charity that uses music and mentoring to help people lead meaningful lives, free from crime.


Who we help

Over 500 prisoners and over 50 ex-prisoners each year

How we help

Music-making, Mentoring & Community

What we achieve

Increased: Hope, Self-esteem, Resilience, Belonging, Positive Identity

Who we help

Did you know that in the UK, 46% of people who leave prison reoffend within a year of being released? Behind this sobering statistic are real human beings with broken lives.

Unfortunately it’s often the most vulnerable people in society that get caught up in the cycle of crime. Hopelessness and a lack of self-belief perpetuate this problem - but this doesn't have to be the case.

We work with men, women and young people of all abilities and backgrounds. Our goal is to restore their confidence and enable them to break the cycle.

Currently we work in 17 prisons and 3 community hubs across the UK. We help over 500 prisoners and over 50 ex-prisoners each year.

How we help

Music has the power to unlock people's potential to change. It improves wellbeing and enables personal growth, which both aid rehabilitation

Our Musicians-in-Residence are multi-instrumentalists and compassionate role models. They deliver group music sessions in prison and monthly sessions in the community.

In each session, 5 to 10 people learn and create different styles of music together. We create a safe place for people to express themselves and learn to collaborate with others. Over time, the group bonds and works toward goals such as recordings and performances.

We support people for as long as they need us in prison and upon release.

What we achieve

We achieve five main outcomes, proven to be essential to reducing reoffending. Our work increases; hope, self-esteem, resilience, belonging, and positive identity.

Ex-prisoners we have worked with over the past 10 years have a reoffending rate of less than 15%.

In 2016, participants in our sessions won a record 72 Koestler Awards. You can hear some of the great albums produced over the years here.

There have been many academic studies that show the effectiveness of our work, which you can view here.

But our impact is best expressed by those we’ve worked with. See Sharon’s story below…

Convicted of fraud while trying to fund her long-term drug addiction, Sharon started attending our music sessions in Eastwood Park Prison, building a trusting and positive relationship with our Musician-in-Residence. 

 
When I went to prison I was pretty broken, damaged, and empty. Prisons are full of people in the same situation. People who have made bad choices - not people who are necessarily bad, but just have had issues in their lives that they’ve been unable to deal with.

My way of coping with the emptiness was by using drugs and alcohol. But slowly, through working with Changing Tunes that emptiness started to fill up, and it made me feel like a whole person - somebody treating you like a worthwhile human being for the first time in a long time.

Changing Tunes isn’t just about the music. It’s about the relationships that are built up - that therapeutic relationship between the workers at Changing Tunes and the people who attend the groups. For me, Changing Tunes helped me to build my self esteem and my confidence, it helped me to believe in myself because these people were the first people to actually believe in me. Without Changing Tunes, I would not be alive today.
 

After prison, Sharon continued to be a part of Changing Tunes, and we supported her whilst she rebuilt relationships with her family, eventually helping her into training and employment as a drugs support worker.