Founded in 1995, The Amber Trust provides grants to these visually impaired children, who are often living in relative poverty, for music lessons, music therapy, instruments, equipment and concert tickets.
In the year 2016/17, the Amber Trust gave 201 individuals grants towards funding musical experiences. The trust also hosted workshops for over 90 visually impaired children in special schools.
Not only do these musical experiences allow children to develop their talents, the music also acts as therapy for those who have severe learning difficulties as well as visual impairments. The music encourages children to break down emotional and social barriers and helps fulfil their potential as individuals as well as musicians. For visually impaired children, musical experiences and therapy have many benefits. It allows greater self-confidence, self-awareness, social skills and mobility. Children feel a sense of accomplishment when spending time practising their music, thus increasing their confidence.
The musical activities also benefit the children and young people neurologically. The music addresses both the left and right side of the brain and will therefore promote increased attention span, social skills, emotional expressions and language development.
Moreover, playing a musical instrument gives the children and young people more opportunities to participate in mainstream activities, such as joining bands, orchestras and performing publicly. This encourages children to learn how to interact and communicate with others and their environments.
The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust has been a long-standing supporter of the Amber Trust, having donated almost half a million pounds since 2015. These grants have allowed the Amber Trust to continue to develop new innovative work, such as Little Amber and Amber Plus, two services established to enable blind or partially sighted children and babies to engage with music by providing families and professionals with resources and ideas for music-making. The services are accessible on the internet, on smart phones and they also come with games that can be played at home.