The Take it away scheme has received an award in recognition of its achievements.

The Sir Charles Groves Prize, awarded by Making Music for outstanding contribution to the musical life of communities in the UK, was presented to Creative United’s Take it away scheme.

Since its original inception as an Arts Council initiative 11 years ago, Take it away has helped over 90,000 children and young people in England and Northern Ireland have access to musical instruments through £64m in interest-free loans. Now operated by Creative United in partnership with Omni Capital Retail Finance, the scheme has recently been broadened to offer interest-free loans to customers of all ages, opening up leisure-time music making to even more people.

Making Music Chair Dorothy Wilson said:

‘Take it away was an obvious choice for our Sir Charles Groves Prize. The scheme has always been a great help to young people and parents buying instruments for their children. By extending their offering of interest free loans on instrument purchases to over-25s, Creative United have significantly broken down one of the main barriers – cost – to adults taking up or returning to an instrument. The extension will enable more adults to take part in musical activity, and enjoy the now well-documented benefits this can bring to their lives and their community.’

Making Music Chief Executive Barbara Eifler presented the award to Creative United’s Chief Executive, Mary-Alice Stack, on the performance stage at the Music and Drama Education Expo in London.

Mary-Alice Stack said:

“We are extremely proud and honoured that the impact and value of Take it away has been recognised by the awarding committee of the Sir Charles Groves Prize. We are absolutely delighted to have received this prestigious award, and hope that we can use this opportunity to raise awareness of the scheme and inspire even more people across the UK to get involved in learning and playing music.”