Our founder Richard Pendlebury first started taking his guitar into Bristol prison in 1987 and was amazed at the difference learning and playing music together made to people’s life chances.
In 1997 our project was formalised and funds were raised to buy equipment and instruments for the work in Bristol prison. Groups started meeting regularly, led by Richard Pendlebury and Adam Kishtainy. The project slowly grew to include new prisons, starting with Shepton Mallet, and we were granted charitable status in the year 2000 to carry on our work. By the year 2005 we were in six prisons, and by 2013 we were in 13 prisons.
In 2017 - 30 years after our first sessions in Bristol prison - Changing Tunes has skilled Musicians-in-Residence based in a growing network of prisons and community hubs across the UK. This growth has included the formal establishment of the Midlands region of Changing Tunes, appointing a board of trustees and new musicians in residence, with a view to expanding our work in the Midlands region.
In 2018 we are now working in 4 prisons in the West Midlands, providing sessional music and mentoring services.