Rehab music therapy project receives one of the first Care UK Wellbeing Foundation grants

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Beckenham-based music therapy project Two Different Roads, which uses music and dance to help people recovering from drug and alcohol abuse, is among the first groups to receive a grant from the Care UK Wellbeing Foundation, which was formed earlier this year.

The grant, for £1,800, was presented to project founder Jim Smith, by foundation board member and Care UK’s Community Services business development director, Libby Eastley.

The project holds up to 40 sessions in rehab centres across the country each year using stories, song and dance to communicate with and assist people living with an addiction.

Libby said: “Care UK has an exceptional mental health service dedicated to helping people reclaim their lives and independence. The foundation’s board was impressed with Jim’s drive and the project’s commitment to helping people find a way forward.

“His use of stories, song and dance is inspirational and makes concepts accessible to anyone, whatever their background. This is a shining example of what we at the Care UK Wellbeing Foundation are trying to achieve and I am proud to be able to award this grant to Two Different Roads.”

Jim has himself been sober for 38 years. He said: “We are very grateful to the Care UK Wellbeing Foundation for the grant. It will able to us to buy a better PA system and new instruments, which will add to the sessions.

“Music is a wonderfully powerful and very accessible thing. After 10 years in recovery, I decided to work with people in a helping way. I started a counselling training course, and at the same time I joined Barnardo’s as a residential social worker and I would take my guitar in to work.

“Over the next 13 years I discovered that music was an amazing way to connect with people, build trust, and act as a catalyst to access emotions. My work with adolescents in care was helped tremendously by my use of music.”

In 2011, Jim was awarded the Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship, where he travelled around America studying music therapy techniques and running sessions himself, including at the world famous Betty Ford Clinic. He now works with trained singer dancer Iga Drzymkowska, who brings a new dimension to the sessions not only as a dancer, but as an adult child of an alcoholic home.

He said: “I love it when I meet someone and they tell me that I came to their rehab and they got hope from my stories and songs, it makes it all worthwhile. I'm truly grateful to the Care UK Wellbeing Foundation for its grant. I love carrying the message in this way; my aim is to reach every treatment centre in the UK and this grant will help us continue on our way.”

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