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Yodel helps Oxfam carry a tune – ships £1m of instruments to schools


Yodel has delivered over 6,500 donated musical instruments, worth more than £1m to 170 primary schools across the country, enabling more than 10,000 children to experience the joy of making music.
The initiative is part of a partnership with world-renowned classical pianist James Rhodes – who appeared on the Channel 4 TV show Don’t Stop the Music which encouraged the British public to donate their unwanted musical instruments to local Oxfam stores, as part of the UK’s biggest ever ‘instrument amnesty’.

Yodel took on the vital role of delivery partner, with its YodelDirect service collecting the donated instruments from Oxfam’s 700 shops and delivering them to the Amnesty’s headquarters for sorting and refurbishment. Yodel has since been delivering them to primary schools who registered to take part.

The Channel 4 series followed James as he trialled an instrument amnesty in a Basildon primary school and geared up to go nationwide. With the school in special measures, no music budget whatsoever, and teachers already stretched to the limit, James’ mission was to show through direct action just what putting an instrument into the hands of a child can do.

Support from Oxfam, Yodel,, Google and Universal Music helped to bring the project to life, with celebrities including Sir Paul McCartney, Jessie J, Damon Albarn, Sir Tom Jones, Tinie Tempah and Ronnie Wood encouraging the public to get involved.

James, who had a troubled childhood which led to drug addiction and mental health issues, believes that music has a huge role to play in helping children to develop and learn creatively.

“Music saved my life. It’s that powerful. Young children have a hunger and thirst to learn music and we must give every child the opportunity to learn a musical instrument,” he said.

“The ‘instrument amnesty’ has helped make this a reality for thousands of kids up and down the country. With the crucial support of partners like Yodel’s YodelDirect service we’ve achieved something brilliant, long lasting and life affirming.”

Dick Stead, executive chairman of Yodel, joined in with distributing some of the instruments and said: “Every parcel we deliver is important to its recipient and this is definitely the case with the instrument amnesty. We are incredibly proud to have played a part in this wonderful opportunity, bringing the gift of music to over 10,000 children.”

Dr. Lin Phillips, head teacher of Falconbrook Primary School in Battersea and one of the schools which received the instruments, commented: “Thanks to the brilliant Don’t Stop the Music campaign, we have started a new band which gives the children another opportunity to play in assemblies and concerts. I’d like to thank all those who donated instruments, as well as James Rhodes, Yodel and all those who made the amnesty happen. You’ve helped change lives and your instruments have gone to a fantastic new home!”

Pictured above: Dick Stead, James Rhodes and Labrinth – not afraid to carry a tune

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