Classical Music

Breaking: Chi-chi steps aside… Chineke tightens safeguarding – SlippediscSlippedisc

norman lebrecht

February 16, 2023

Two important messages are being sent around this morning by Britain’s lavishly funded diversity youth orchestra.

The first, to Chineke musicians and parents, does not mention any change in Chi-chi Nwanoku’s position with the orchestra she founded. It is written by the new interim MD, Mark Higham:

I am writing to introduce myself and our new Chineke! Foundation Chair, Frank Douglas…

I started as Interim Managing Director in December with a brief to review and improve policies and procedures, work on values and developing a respectful and supportive organisational culture. I have a background in music, education and film and working with young people in all three spheres.

I know that Chi-chi last wrote to you in the autumn and after that email there has been quite a lot of news including:
The Arts Council confirmed four year (NPO) funding which is an important investment in the future of the organisation and will enable us to do more
We have agreed with NSPCC to collaborate on new safeguarding policies and training which I will be involved in carrying out (hopefully in April)
We have advertised for a new Learning Manager who we hope will start in the Spring
We are planning Chineke! Junior Orchestra activity once the new training is complete
We also have a new process for reporting any issues or complaints – please email me ([email protected]) and a trustee, Candace Allen ([email protected])
We have a new trustee as Frank mentions in his email, who is Director of Safeguarding & PSHEA at development charity Care International
If you receive unsolicited emails from any former freelancers or members of staff, they are breaching GDPR laws by doing so, and you are under no obligation to respond.

Lastly the Chineke! Orchestra performed with Stormzy at the BRITs on Saturday and here is a link to it on YouTube in case you would find that interesting.


More significant is the following section, buried in the new chairman’s long letter to supporters:

As newly appointed Chair, it is my intent to continue that fantastic growth pattern. To do that will require that we continually review and evolve our organisation and its culture, which is why today, we’re announcing some changes to our leadership team.

Founder of Chineke!, Chi-chi Nwanoku has relinquished her roles as a trustee on the Board, and as Executive Director, so she can focus on the role of Artistic Director, with responsibility for the artistic vision and programme. This will allow Chi-chi to concentrate on what she does best – bringing her passion, creativity and vision to the Foundation. We thank her for the endless and tireless efforts she has undertaken over the last seven yearscombining her managerial and artistic roles. We will be recruiting a Deputy Artistic Director to further support the emphasis on the artistic programme and support for the players…

We are continuing to strengthen the Chineke! Board, and I’m very pleased to announce that Lucy Stoner has been appointed as a Trustee. Lucy has been the Head of People for the Scouts and currently is the Global Director of Safeguarding and Protection from Sexual Harassment, Exploitation and Abuse (PSHEA) for Care International.

This looks like considerable progress in terms of transparency and good governance.

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