Employment, skills and rehabilitation specialist Seetec has marked its 35th anniversary by donating over £10,000 to two charities operating in its Essex heartland.

Wanting to give something back to the county where it was founded in 1984, Seetec has given a huge boost to two relatively unknown charities with donations of over £5000 each to help support the projects’ growth.

The Music Man Project (MMP), whose headquarters is part of Southend Mencap, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Foundation, were chosen by Seetec for the work they do both in the county and across the UK. Seetec wanted to support their aspirations to reach out to more people not only in the UK but internationally.

John Baumback, Seetec Group Managing Director, explained: “We help hundreds of thousands of people every year across the UK and Ireland through our employment, apprenticeship or rehabilitation support and some would have gained comfort and support from charities like MMP and BDD. These charities provide enormous professional support that help thousands of people and their families with very little funding. We are delighted to be able to offer these charities some financial support to enable them to carry on their vital services.”

MMP was founded in 2012 by a former Deputy Head Teacher, David Stanley, to meet a growing demand from parents for regular and accessible musical opportunities for their children with learning disabilities. The Music Man Project nurtures their innate musicality, delivering education, enjoyment and performances through the teaching of original music at special schools, colleges, care homes, weekly music schools and daily adult classes in the community.

The Music Man Project offers the same opportunities enjoyed by aspiring mainstream musicians by providing the best tuition, instruments, musical repertoire and performance platforms available. It currently operates in Essex, Suffolk, Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Bristol, Lincolnshire, Scotland, South Africa, India and Nepal. It supports schools, the Salvation Army, local Mencap societies, Music Education Hubs and individuals in fulfilment of its objective to establish a specialist music service in every county in England, in every country in the UK and in every continent in the world.

Marc McOwens, Southend Mencap General Manager said: “Being a registered charity, we are becoming more reliant than ever on the generosity of others to help fund our many activities that we provide for children and adults with learning disabilities with the ongoing financial climate that has seen far less funding opportunities for charities such as ourselves to access.

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“The level of funding Seetec has provided, coupled with the merchandise Seetec has purchased from us in the summer, has allowed our Music Man Project to grow far quicker than we could have imagined and will allow the project to extend to other learning disabled students both across the UK but also in other countries too.”

David Stanley, Founder and CEO of The Music Man Project, said: “This money will help thousands of people at our regional centres across the UK and abroad to access our world-record breaking music education service and to take part in inspirational performances, such as our London Palladium and Royal Albert Hall concerts. Our next dream is to play Broadway!”

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is characterised by a preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in appearance. Sometimes the flaw is noticeable but often is not as prominent as the sufferer believes.

There has been very little research into BDD, which urgently needs funding so that it can be understood fully, and better treatments developed.

The latest Mental Health of Children and Young People survey was the first in the series to assess BDD, providing England’s first estimates of its prevalence in children and young people at one in a hundred 5 to 19-year olds overall (1.0%). It affects 1.8% of girls and 0.3% of boys. Rates were highest in girls aged 17 to 19 years old, with one in eighteen (5.6%) experiencing BDD at the time of the interview.**

On behalf of the Foundation, Nicole Schnackenberg concluded: “The Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Foundation is the only charity worldwide completely dedicated to supporting people with BDD which affects 2-3% of the population and has one of the highest suicide rates of any diagnosable mental health condition. Seetec’s donation to the BDD Foundation will make a huge impact, as a small charity every penny makes such a difference to our ability to do more. Seetec’s donation shall be used for the 'Schools Project' which aims to raise awareness and understanding of BDD in educational settings.”

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