Issue details

PH-034-22 Community Grant Application - To award a grant of £9,000 to Electric Umbrella

Recommendations made and reasons:


In the summer 2022 round of Community Grants, an application was made by Electric Umbrella which received approval at the grants panel meeting on 16 September 2022.


Electric Umbrella have identified the need to run two small group sessions at The Emporium, Hemel Hempstead. They are as follows:


1. ‘Feel the Music’. For those with more severe, complex, or additional physical needs or who are non-verbal. They have no ambition to perform on stage & would benefit from a quieter, gentler & more sensory session where music provides therapeutic benefits. These small group sessions are for groups of 10 learning disabled adults aged 18+.  Electric Umbrella’s Member Development Manager and professional musicians will work with the cohort to create bespoke adapted instruments to enable everyone to participate.


2. ‘Baby Brollies’. This is designed for SEN & non-SEN babies & pre-school children aged 0-5yrs & their parents. These fun, interactive music sessions will encourage creativity, diversity, & inclusion from the earliest possible age. Group size is 20 babies & 20 parents.


Electric Umbrella have identified that learning disabled people face many challenges including social isolation & loneliness, poor physical health, & poor mental health, and that pandemic has exacerbated these issues. Their research also shows that currently baby groups are for either SEN or non-SEN babies. They want to encourage inclusion & diversity from the earliest possible age, helping to influence a generation who see no ‘us & them’ & where learning disabled people & their families are fully included & enjoy the same opportunities.


Total project cost £36,055


£9,000 DBC grant

£5,717 Herts Community Foundation

£2,016 Postcode Lottery

£12,000 Session Fees

£6,723 Emporium sales and fundraising




Electric Umbrella’s mission is to use music to enrich the lives of learning disabled people, enabling them to develop & express their creativity & be represented on mainstream stages & music platforms. They believe that their gigs, performances & music releases challenge perceptions, celebrate diversity & promote inclusion.


Everything led by learning disabled people working alongside professional musicians. Their learning disabled members co-create & co-deliver projects & are front & centre of their performances.


Projects include ‘Big Yellow Choir’ (with 100 members), ‘Music Machine’ (for children at SEN schools), EU Express (performing to children of mainstream primary schools), & a comprehensive programme of music-making opportunities for members.


Each week 160 members attend their music sessions. This year they will perform to 30,000 pupils & 15,000 people.


Historically, activities have been largely based around Watford. In May 2022 they opened the Emporium in the Marlowes Shopping Centre in Hemel.


The application was assessed through the Community Grant Scheme, which is specifically set up to support Community, Voluntary, Arts and Sporting groups that benefit the residents of Dacorum.  There are three rounds of Community Grant funding per financial year.  Applicants are invited to apply for funding and the applications are assessed by a panel of officers, who will be looking at how well it meets the criteria of the fund; whether the project supports the Councils objectives and how it supports the following five ways to well-being: be active, take notice, learn, give and connect. 


Decision type: Key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 26/09/2022

Decision due: October 2022 by Portfolio Holder for Communities

Lead director: Strategic Director (People and Transformation)

Contact: Fraser Willcox Email: