Play for Progress

Play for Progress

At a glance


  • Arts
  • Education
  • Human rights
  • International development
  • Local / community
  • Refugees / migrants
  • Young people

Other details

Organisation type: 
Geographical remit: 
National - Britain


PLAY FOR PROGRESS established a weekly music programme in 2016, which we run in conjunction with the Refugee Council UK's Children's Section in Croydon for unaccompanied minor refugees and asylum seekers (teens under 18 who fled war and conflict) who have made it to the UK against all odds, and on their own.

We want to be there for them, to offer ways for them to connect with the diverse and often overwhelming city that is London, to practice their language skills, to release tensions and healthily offer respite from trauma in a safe space, to forge supportive friendships and relationships, and to explore and develop their own creative potential. That is why we developed our music programme.

Children caught in war and violence are traumatised. Their education is interrupted or non-existent, and they don’t have the resources to participate in creative activities that are vital to healthy emotional and intellectual growth. 

We know what a difference music can make. Making music unlocks the gates to self-appreciation, self-exploration and self-expression and enhances communal appreciation, expression and development. PFP programmes are designed to encourage and enable these children to find enjoyment in music making, explore cultural traditions, collaborate with their peers and bring out their inner performer.

It is also becoming increasingly vital that this vastly connected and swiftly globalizing world of ours needs more points of connections between its diverse communities. What better way to bring people together than in collaborative celebration of this diversity!

Research shows that learning music, even in programmes lasting only one month, improves reading skills, numeracy, vocabulary, abstract thinking skills, long-term and auditory memory, listening skills, and develops the part of the brain that is associated with sensory and motor function.

Beyond the scientific reasons for learning music, music education is beneficial in its own right: in the making of music! Music is a unique form of cultural and personal expression that exists in every culture. Music provides an outlet for creative thinking, a means for emotional processing and release, a method of encouraging self-discipline, and good old fashioned fun! 


​Play for Progress (PFP) is a London-based charity that delivers therapeutic and educational music programmes for young people impacted by conflict, to help them engage with, learn through, and explore their capabilities in music.

Our Croydon-based weekly music programme for unaccompanied minor refugees and asylum seekers guarantees that these vulnerable young people can rely on a close-knit community of allies who use music as a tool for social change, self-expression, team building, and personal development. Every student enrolled in our programme is given access to a curriculum of music workshops, instrumental lessons, performance opportunities, and group outings. Including our 'Allies In Art' series where on the first Wednesday of ever month we invite musicians to host a session. This introduces the students to music forms as diverse as opera, pop and folk while also including music from around the world.

It is through running this programme and regularly supporting our allies in other refugee networks around the globe that we are actively working to strengthen the connections within and appreciation of our diverse global community.

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