Since 2012, SoCo has developed a range of music engagement programmes for adults with alcohol and/or substance misuse issues in partnership support providers such as Society of St James, Change Grow Live, Richmond Fellowship and No Limits.

Central to this has been our flagship programme, the SoCo Jamming Sessions, a weekly music performance session that supports a core group of aspiring musicians to hone their musical skills by learning and performing cover songs and composing their own material. Participants from this group have performed as The Recovery All-Stars at several high-profile events across Southampton such as Umbrella Arts Festival and The Big Sleep Out.

The Benefits of Music-Making For Those In Recovery From Addiction

Our activities form a key component of many service users’ recovery programme. They have become a vital lifeline to many of our partner’s service users as the unique delivery format continues to inspire participants, enabling them to develop their personal and social skills and thus continue to build their recovery capital. Our programmes:

  • Build participants’ recovery capital by fostering greater engagement with the recovery process, and developing healthy relationships.
  • Promote positive mental health, raise self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Create an outlet for self-expression through music sharing, improvisation and song/lyric writing.
  • Facilitate participants’ rehabilitation into society by reducing social isolation and building vital support networks.
  • Provide opportunities for participants to explore and discover music-making and to develop their musical, creative and transferable skills. In particular, their instrumental, vocal and performance skills.
  • Provide fun and innovative ‘diversionary‘ creative activities.

Our work in this field contributes to a wider adult learning programme, read more about this project and others in our Adult Learning Report.

Partner Testimonials

“SoCo’s creative courses have numerous outcomes and have the potential to really impact participants’ lives by fostering greater engagement with the recovery process. They can help facilitate participants’ rehabilitation into society, enhancing their lives socially, personally and mentally.

Some of the main agendas are to enable people to sustain abstinence by developing learning, self-belief, passion and happiness. It is my hope that this project will motivate our service users to take up not only an interest in music but other leisure pursuits for themselves thereby building their recovery capital.”Colin Owens, Change Grow Live

“Whilst all the participants have been working on different and unique things, the programme has given them all a space where they can come and express themselves in their different ways. The sessions also allowed for the participants to express themselves through music, something they almost certainly wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do without this project. 

It has allowed them to meet new people and socialise in ways they wouldn’t have had they not attended the project. I feel that all the participants’ confidence has massively developed since beginning these sessions both socially and when performing their music.”No Limits

“SoCo Music Project have given the clients another tool in their life skills. Clients’ self esteem and motivation has risen and many now have bought an instrument and feel they have found a purpose in life other than the substance misuse they relied on. The courses have created a new social network of friends. This service has been excellent and I have seen many good changes in clients for the better.”Jacqui White, Society of St James

Keeping busy is important for me. Any hours in the day spent not knowing what to do are dangerous hours. It’s just a really good way of using my time


I suppose what I’ve got out of it is the confidence to actually start to be and actually believe I can write songs and sing. That’s progress for me. I jumped on the stage for the first time ever when I came to the first session here. It’s just brilliant really; I wish it was every other day to be fair. It would really benefit us.


For me when I was growing up I knew I could write lyrics but there was nothing for me in Southampton. If there was more stuff like this for adults… we need stuff too because we’re all creative. We never stop being creative. It would be great for something to grow from this. To actually give adults the opportunity to do something with their lives with regards to music. For me I didn’t know that. Because of my lifestyle and everything that was going I didn’t have the opportunity to ever think about music. But now I have it would be great for something else to come. To spend our time creating music. Or learn how to get into music or learn how to give something back to the community


It’s been incredibly moving. I just didn’t think I could do it. Coming here and seeing that I can it’s just like an eye opener for me.


Music has made me find myself again and I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s my inspiration


Music puts me in my own zone – I can forget about everything else that’s going on. It keeps me safe and out of trouble


Music has helped me so much in my recovery and I now feel like I have something to get up for and a life to live


Life was dull taking my pills every day staring into a bottle of cider what
was left. Music has helped me so much; my drinking is at a healthier level. I can exist in the community now and I can enjoy music and now play a little bit


The group has supported me in a way that people could not imagine. My love for music takes everything away for that moment and it has helped with my confidence, musical ability and with social interactions.


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