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HertsArts – A beacon of creativity for children in care

2nd May 2024

Now entering its fourth year, HertsArts serves as a beacon of empowerment and creativity for children in care. A collaborative initiative between Herts Music Service and the Virtual School, it endeavours to provide weekly music groups, performance opportunities, and celebratory events for children looked after in Hertfordshire. Through the medium of music, HertsArts seeks to nurture not only musical skills but also confidence, relationships, communication abilities, leadership qualities, and a profound sense of self-worth among its participants. This case study delves into the impactful journey of HertsArts, examining its evolution and the transformative experiences it offers to care-experienced young people.



HertsArts emerged from a recognition of the unique challenges faced by children in care, emphasising the need for meaningful opportunities for self-expression and growth. Initiated collaboratively by Herts Music Service and the Virtual School, the project aimed to harness the power of music for personal development and empowerment. Over the past four years, HertsArts has evolved into a dynamic platform that not only nurtures musical talent but also cultivates essential life skills and positive relationships.



  • Provide weekly music groups for children looked after.
  • Offer performance opportunities and celebratory events.
  • Foster musical skills, confidence, relationships, communication, leadership, and self-worth.



HertsArts employs a multifaceted approach to achieve its objectives:

  • Weekly Music Groups: Regular sessions explore various musical genres, instruments, and techniques in a supportive environment.
  • Performance Opportunities: Participants showcase talents at local venues, fostering a sense of achievement and pride.
  • Herts Awards Celebrations: Events recognise participants’ achievements, honouring their progress and contributions.



  • Musical Skills Development: Participants demonstrate growth in playing instruments, singing, songwriting, and music production.
  • Enhanced Confidence: Musical activities bolster self-assurance, enabling participants to express themselves creatively and assertively.
  • Stronger Relationships: Collaborative music-making fosters bonds between participants and mentors, nurturing mutual respect and understanding.
  • Improved Communication: Music refines communication skills, facilitating the expression of emotions, ideas, and experiences.
  • Leadership Opportunities: Participants take on leadership roles, guiding and inspiring others within the music groups.
  • Heightened Sense of Worth: Valued for their musical contributions, participants develop a profound sense of worth and belonging.


Feedback from Chanelle and Millie

Chanelle, a care-experienced young person aspiring to be a police officer, highlights the impact of HertsArts on her life. She actively engages with every opportunity, serving as a role model and impactful leader.

Millie, a creative student studying fashion, echoes Chanelle’s sentiments. Both emphasise the significance of music in their lives and its transformative influence. They credit HertsArts for widening their musical abilities, fostering friendships, boosting confidence, and providing leadership opportunities.

Through their involvement, they have learned valuable skills and gained confidence to run workshops, breaking down barriers and inspiring others.


Feedback from Participants and Carers

In preparation for their presentation at the Music Mark Spring Summit 2024, Millie and Nell sought feedback from young people and carers involved in HertsArts:

Young People:

“I really enjoy performing. The teacher made it funny and enjoyable each session.”


“I loved creating the music.”


“I liked learning something new and having fun doing it.”


“Please can I do it again – and do it more often.”


“Thank you for teaching me something new.”


“My 10-year-old sister would like to join and learn to play the hand drums.”


“100% of the young people who played in the HertsArts concert in October told us they wanted to remain involved in the music activities.”



“My child always looked forward to going each week. They had lots of friends, both with staff and other children. They had fun.”


“The teacher was extremely patient with all of the children. He made them laugh, it didn’t feel like lessons, and he got the best out of them.”


“She enjoyed every aspect. The music was so good for her sensory needs. It was something for her to feel proud about and gave her a way to express herself.”


“The sessions have been something that our young people have actively enjoyed being a part of. The great sense of community and belonging it has brought them is something we have treasured.”


“Their confidence grew. They had an after-school activity to look forward to. Their trust in us great as they know we would take them.”


“Regarding the HertsArts concert – I was beyond proud, and it felt alive with happiness and inner magic. Each and every young person was amazing!”



HertsArts stands as a testament to the transformative power of music in the lives of care-experienced young people. Through collaboration, innovation, and dedication, the project has enriched the musical landscape of Hertfordshire while empowering its participants to realise their full potential. As HertsArts continues to evolve, it serves as a beacon of hope and possibility, demonstrating the profound impact of creativity, community, and support in shaping brighter futures for vulnerable youth.

To close we will share some of the lyrics from Alex who wrote and performed his song “Right Now” in the HertsArts concert.

“Right now – I’ve got to a positive stage

Right Now – I wonder what pain will be coming my way

Right now – All my life I’ve felt like a stray

Right now – I couldn’t explain my pain

Right now – My mind was going insane

Right now – Words can’t even explain my pain

Feels like my pain eats me up every single day”

Music, through the collaborative work between HMS and the VS, has given Alex and many other care experienced YP a “language”, a voice, a means of communication, success. We cannot, and should not, underestimate the powerful impact that music can have on our young people.


Written by Christina Luchies, Head of Participation and School Music.

To learn more about what Hertfordshire Music Service do, visit Hertfordshire Music Service (

To see and hear about more projects and activities for Hertfordshire Music Service check out their YouTube channel – Hertfordshire Music Service – YouTube.