A Place on the Board: Andrew Wood of Changing Tunes

Wood aims to provide a robust platform for his charity, which employs musicians to build mentoring relationships with prisoners and ex-prisoners with the aim of reducing reoffending

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood

The charity Changing Tunes employs musicians to build mentoring relationships with prisoners and ex-prisoners with the aim of reducing reoffending. Andrew Wood, its chair, is an amateur musician – but nowhere near as good, he says, as those who go into prisons. "Any musician understands the therapeutic effect and sense of self-worth that music brings about in people," he says.

Wood, a chartered accountant and a finance director in the care sector, has been on the board of Changing Tunes for 15 years and there have been many changes in that time. "We've brought in professional gravitas," he says. But recruiting the right people can be a challenge. "A lot of boxes need to be ticked, and the main thing is that people should want to do this kind of thing," he says. "You should have an emotional understanding of what the charity does; if you don't, it will affect your ability to contribute."

He says his role is to ensure the charity has a robust platform to increase in size and deal with growing pains. These include the expansion of the franchise from its Bristol base to other parts of the country, with all the attendant difficulties of managing people remotely. "We have to make sure the musicians who go into prisons are being supported – for example, through access to counsellors," he says.

The charity must also ensure financial sustainability for a cause that does not enjoy popular public support: to do this, it looks to larger trusts. "It is important that we can show credibility," says Wood. "Bigger trusts are tending to look more carefully at what they support, and that's positive for us."

To people considering being trustees, he says: "Stay calm and don't react too fast to things that are different from what you're used to. A trustee is there to be the wise, considered party."

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