“We’re a group of music teachers who wouldn’t take no for an answer,” says Heather Powell, Head of Service at Denbighshire Music Co-operative (DMC).
When the local authority announced plans to scrap its music service, making 22 tutors redundant and closing the orchestras they ran for children, several tutors joined together to form DMC. Inspired by a similar model in Swindon, brass teacher Heather approached the council with the idea of teachers taking over the provision of music tuition in schools (such as piano, singing, and trumpet lessons) in Denbighshire, and received the green light.
Three years later, led by Heather, the team now includes three employees and 60 self-employed tutors. They now have a dedicated office with rehearsal space, and, crucially, 4,500 children a week accessing music.
Schools pay a set rate for tuition, with DMC taking a top slice to cover management and admin. The organisation has also received a number of grants, including funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, to help more children access music.
DMC now plans to expand further across Wales; having taken over music tuition in neighbouring county Wrexham, saving 26 jobs, and they are now being approached by other counties wanting to learn more about the model they’ve developed.