Severn Arts Logo

Our Mission Statement

At Severn Arts we are passionate about music and the arts and their power to transform and enrich lives. Our aim is to instil the same passion in the children and young people and the wider community of Worcestershire, regardless of their background or ability.

What We Do

Leading Worcestershire’s Music Education Hub, Severn Arts holds an Arts Council England contract to develop and deliver an accessible, high quality music education for young people in Worcestershire.

Now, as a new charitable company, with a well-established service, a sound existing customer base, many partnerships in place and good customer relationships, Severn Arts has the freedom and flexibility to diversify its business and to be entrepreneurial in its approach.

Severn Arts wishes to develop its remit to encompass a broader spectrum of Arts activity for people young and old, across Worcestershire and beyond.

The Company came into operation on the 1st June 2018 and currently provides music tuition, performance opportunities, instrument hire and other music education to pupils in Worcestershire, and has a relationship with 95{913d931ba24df5d18a5352e743b8b6b67026f6c89565359c68a956e14a1176be} of the county’s schools. This growing service currently impacts on 8-10,000 children and young people weekly and over 18,000 across a year.

Severn Arts delivers the county’s arts strategy and leads on the delivery a three-year Festivals programme as well as supporting Worcestershire Arts Partnership, thus developing the company’s remit beyond music education, and beyond young people.

As a charitable company, Severn Arts appreciates donations and grants to develop its work to bring the Arts to even more people. Please see “Giving” to find out more about how you can get involved.

Board of Trustees

Severn arts has a committed Board of Trustees who work with the Chief Executive and wider management team to lead the organisation and ensure it delivers on its Mission.

John de la Cour is Director of The Elmley Foundation, a grantmaking charity which supports the arts in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Alongside its financial support function, the Foundation takes a very proactive approach to development of the arts in its catchment area, one aspect of which is to lend technical assistance to organisations and projects which enhance the arts in the two counties. The Foundation believes that Severn Arts has considerable potential as an important player in the future development of Worcestershire’s arts scene, and it is in this context that his experience was offered to Severn Arts as Chair to guide it through its initial phase as a newly-independent company.Over the last 25 years, there are few arts initiatives in the two counties which have not been touched by Elmley Foundation involvement, either as a financial backer or as a source of advice and support, and often both. Leading recent examples include the work of the Worcestershire Arts Partnership and the Herefordshire Cultural Partnership. The Elmley Foundation has been a key player in supporting their work and the many projects they have spawned, such as the bid by Herefordshire to be UK City of Culture, and the moves to secure the future of the Worcestershire Youth Music Service and County Arts Service out of County Council control. Since 1995, the Foundation has awarded grants totalling  c.£6 million through its Main Grants and Small Grants programmes.

John de la Cour’s background includes spells in senior positions for the Arts Council and in lottery fund distribution. For ten years until June 2005 he was South West Regional Manager of the Big Lottery Fund (formerly the National Lottery Charities Board, later the Community Fund and BIG), where he was responsible for the assessment of all applications and management of some 4,200 grants totalling £160 million. He was closely involved in the design of programmes helping disadvantaged people, and pioneered joint working with the other lottery distributers which led to the launch of Awards for All, the most highly-rated lottery programme. He advised the then SW Government Office on Voluntary Sector policy and was a member of the SW Committee for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

John is a Fellow of Hereford College of Arts, whose Board of Governors he chaired for eight years until 2013, holds an Honorary M.A. from the University of Worcester, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Julie Berrow trained as a violinist at the Royal Academy of Music and joined the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at the age of twenty where she took part in its extensive concert work, tours, educational projects and recordings, under the then chief conductor Simon Rattle.

As a mature student, Julie completed Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at the University of Birmingham in philosophy and theology, followed by a PGCE and teaching in the primary sector. She has been a head teacher since 2006, leading inner-city primary schools and supporting leadership in schools in challenging circumstances.

Julie retains a strong interest in the arts (latterly taking singing lessons!) and attends as many concerts and productions as time allows. As well as being a trustee of Severn Arts, Julie is on the governing board of a Birmingham preparatory school and an elected member of the Birmingham Diocesan Board of Education. She is in the second year of an MBA in Executive Leadership and Management at the University of Worcester.

Julie is married to a historian. They live in Worcester and have one son who is at university in Bristol.

Bill is the Head of the School of Law at University of Worcester, a position that he has held since 2015. Previously, Bill was Principal Lecturer in Corporate Law at University of Greenwich where he was also the Course Director on the LLB (Hons) Law degree.
Before entering the world of legal education, Bill was a professional violinist. He was motivated to join the Severn Arts board by his first hand knowledge of the benefits of county music provision that he gained in his early musical education in Shropshire, firstly with group violin lessons at school and then through membership of the county music ensembles.
A member of the National Youth Orchestra, Bill studied at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music before embarking on a 20 year career performing in a number of ensembles and orchestras such as the BBC Concert Orchestra, the London Concert Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. He also worked in musical theatre, first in Manchester on a two year run of the Phantom of the Opera and then extensively in the West End, holding a position in the Les Miserables band for seven years.Throughout his playing career, Bill also taught the violin as a peripatetic in the Brent Music Service, then at Marymount International School, Kingston and Alleyn’s School Dulwich.
Having become a well established leader in the Worcestershire charity sector, Karen currently works for Citizens Advice, assessing quality and performance across the national network. She also has commercial and retail experience, and is a trained teacher.

Karen’s interest in music started when her primary school headmistress encouraged her to play first the recorder, and then the violin, with which she progressed well, despite occasionally spending too much time playing Mel Bay’s American fiddle solos rather than practising her scales. For those aspiring musicians out there who are sometimes similarly distracted, the good news is that she made it to become a grade 8 violinist. Chief amongst various early highlights was the opportunity to play at the Albert Hall in the Youth Proms, as well as regular performances as a member of the Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra.

After a long gap travelling, working and developing her career, she is finding new delights in learning piano, all because of that first ear splitting squeak of a recorder. She’d like every child to have the same chance which is why she supports Severn Arts.

Dan Herbert’s bio to follow shortly.

Hannah has worked at Worcestershire County Council since 2002 and is currently an Assistant Director within the Children’s, Families and Communities Directorate with lead responsibility for a range of Community Services and for developing a wholly-owned council company to deliver Children’s Social Care from Oct 2019. Hannah was the lead Council Officer in agreeing the transfer of council services into Severn Arts and is the Council’s nominated Board Member.
Previous roles include Strategic Commissioner for Early Help and Partnerships, taking the lead on behalf of Worcestershire’s CCGs for commissioning community health services for children and young people and for leading the development of Worcestershire’s Children and Young People’s Plan. Hannah has also managed the Children’s Services Change Programme, the Extended Schools Initiative and the development of local early years and childcare provision. Hannah’s career started within South Kesteven District Council as an Active Communities Officer leading on play development.

Chloë welcomes the opportunity to be involved in promoting and enabling music and arts education and performances for all children in the community. She is passionate about ensuring that children have opportunities to experience the joys of being part of the arts community through instrumental lessons, ensemble playing and live performances and exhibitions. Chloë’s love of music and the arts was encouraged from early childhood, with ballet, piano and violin lessons. She benefitted from free instrument tuition at school provided by the County service and played in County orchestras and bands whilst at school. Chloë plays 1st violin with Worcestershire Symphony Orchestra, clarinet in a jazz band, and is happy that her love of music is shared by her children.Chloë is a partner at local solicitors firm Harrison Clark Rickerbys and a Deputy District Judge on the Midland Circuit.

Andy Watts is Associate Principal Bassoon with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and served on the orchestra’s board of trustees for several years. After graduating from Cambridge University he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Over the last 40 years he has played with many of London’s period instrument orchestras including The Academy of Ancient Music, the English Concert, The London Classical Players and The English Baroque Soloists. He made several guest appearances with Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s Concentus Musicus in Vienna and Graz. In 1984 he formed The Carnival Band playing a mixture of early, traditional and world music and touring as far afield as Sudan, the Gulf States and Japan. The band has a long-standing collaboration with folk-rock star Maddy Prior. A keen music educator working with children and adults of all ages, Andy teaches baroque and classical bassoon at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He is a member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s education team and leads workshops for The Carnival Band’s Carnival Choirs. In Worcestershire he was part of the Melody Monkey project delivering music for Early Years in libraries and nurseries. He worked as a coach for the Worcestershire Waits, an ensemble for young people focusing on medieval and renaissance music. He teaches at the Elgar School of Music.

Management Team

The Severn Arts Management Team are responsible for a wider team of nearly 100 people.