Arts Society Gift Aids to Henley Music School

The Henley Arts Society has pledged to support Henley Music School as part of its Community Arts programme, which works to encourage involvement in the creative arts. This activity is funded by money that the Society recovers through Gift Aid on members’ subscriptions. More than 400 members in Henley enjoy lectures, study days and visits focussed on the appreciation and preservation of our artistic heritage. The Society is part of a national network of Arts Societies.

Henley Music School (HMS) who provide inclusive music education to anyone, regardless of age, ability, background or means have been struggling for funds, with CEO & founder, Laura Reineke resigning in August to save the charity money. Along with the Trustees they have clawed back enough funds to run a limited bursary scheme, but hope to get back to full-strength with help from the Henley Community.

Laura Reineke said, “HMS grew from its conception 18 years ago to providing music education for over 900 children and 100 adults, offering bursaries, free loan of an instrument, and specialist lessons in all instruments. “I can’t tell you how hard we have worked to come back from the brink, in my time working in the charity sector I have raised over £1m, but the last 2 years have been unprecedented, where it used to be fairly simple to raise the money needed, it has got to the point where my usual funders are either not giving as much, or not engaging at all. I have to say, I’m exhausted, and hugely grateful to all the local charities, funders and individuals who have donated to HMS. We are passionate about music education, and giving every person the opportunity to learn, and love music. We believe it is hugely important for children to have an all round education, when the government cuts funds for education, the arts are the first to go. So donations like this from the Henley Arts Society are just amazing, it means we can keep going, and look to the future.”

David Sadler from The Henley Arts Society said “I feel strongly that children should be offered the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Music is such an important part of human life, and sadly this is becoming harder and harder to achieve. I have no personal knowledge of how well it works in practice but, in theory at least, the Henley Music School fills an important need. The Music Services which supply instrumental teaching in state schools tend to miss Henley. Berkshire Maestros and the Oxford Music Service are both very good but Henley isn’t in Berkshire and is a long way from Oxford and tends to get missed out. This is the gap the Henley Music School addresses.”

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