ORGANISERS of Worcester Music Festival are pleased to announce that its official charities for 2013 are Sight Concern Worcestershire and Worcester Deaf Children’s Society.

Both charities, who would like music to play a bigger part in what they do, will benefit from fundraising in the run-up to and during the original music event from August 30 – September 1.

Charities co-ordinator for Worcester Music Festival Lisa-Marie Everall said, with 21 county charities nominated this year, the final decision was tough, but made perfect ‘sense’.

“It can’t be underestimated how much music can play a part in improving the quality of life of those who have sight or hearing problems and, through our support, we hope to help service users reach their potential through music, while raising vital funds to help both charities thrive. We are really looking forward to getting to know more about the two organisations and how we can help.”

Fiona Blake from Sight Concern Worcestershire, which is based in Sansome Walk and helps blind and partially sighted people from across the county lead independent and fulfilling lives, said sound, audio and music was particularly important to those experiencing significant sight loss.

“We’d really like to provide access to the joy of live music through regular trips to local venues, develop a programme of visiting musicians to our Bradbury Centre, set up a music appreciation club and match service users to volunteer musicians in one on one and group sessions,” she said.

“We’d also love to set up a Sight Concern choir or band that could perform at Worcester Music Festival and the Victorian Christmas Fayre, as well as explore adaptations of musical instruments for sight loss e.g. ‘bump-on stickers’ to indicate keys and aid playing.”

Worcester Deaf Children’s Society, a voluntary group run locally by parents of deaf children, provides social as well as emotional support to families, including teaching children and parents to sign to pop songs and then perform them at meetings. Visitors to Worcester’s Victorian Christmas Fayre over the last two years might have seen them signing Christmas carols with Deaf Direct.

Chaired by Elaine Wilkins, whose daughter Catherine was born profoundly deaf, the charity gets the odd donation to help support the 77 families who currently use its services, but needs financial support to pay for the charity’s running costs, day trips and activities.

Last year’s Worcester Music Festival raised £6,000 for New Hope children’s respite centre in Ronkswood. The total raised through donations, raffles, collections at performance venues and merchandising sales since the event’s first outing six years ago is almost £25,000.

To keep up to date with plans for Worcester Music Festival, which takes place in pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants and historic buildings, as well as on outdoor stages across the city, join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

For more on Sight Concern Worcestershire, click here

For more on Worcester Deaf Children’s Society, click here

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