In The News

09 Dec 2014

Young offenders get chance of a fresh start, one song at a time

Clinical psychologist Dr Charlie Howard worked in NHS child and adolescent mental health for several years until 2008, when she realised some children were missing from the services she provided. “Those in most need, with high levels of deprivation, never crossed the door,” she says. “We had to find new ways of offering help. I didn’t know what they were, but I knew young people themselves would.”

For six months, Howard, 34, spent her evenings standing outside a fish and chip shop in Camden, north London, getting to know members of local gangs. “They had to eat! A white middle-class woman, I stuck out like a sore thumb,” she smiles. Gradually, Howard drew the young people into a project, proposed by the youngsters themselves, built around music. They called it Music and Change. That project became the award-winning MAC-UK, a charity that now works with 40 to 50 young people a year, aged 16 to 25, in four pilot schemes in London.

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