Medium and message: Leonard Cheshire

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is helping Leonard Cheshire service users to compose and perform music.

Service users from one of Leonard Cheshire's day centres will team up with members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to compose an original piece of music that they will help perform to an audience.

The partnership, which is now in its fourth year, culminates in a performance at the John Rutter Christmas concert, from which Leonard Cheshire receives 40 per cent of the profits from ticket sales. The concert will take place on 10 December in London.

This year, a group of service users from Randall Close in Battersea in south London have been chosen to take part. Amy Wyld, a media and PR officer for the charity, says: "The service users will take part in up to five workshops with the orchestra, and they will come up with a theme for a piece of music.

"Most of them don't play an instrument, but they work closely with the orchestra to master one in time for the concert, often a piece of percussion. The idea is to help to break down barriers; it's also a form of self-expression."

Leonard Cheshire organises a champagne reception for which concert-goers can buy tickets as part of a package for the night.

"We hope the event will change attitudes," says Wyld. "It places the emphasis firmly on ability over disability."

She says the feedback from the concert is always very positive. One concert-goer from last year said: "The whole experience has opened my eyes to whatpeople can do, given the opportunity."

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