Pronounced ‘oh-me’, the OHMI Trust is a UK-based charity pioneering the development and adaptation of musical instruments for those who are physically disabled. Any deficiency or disability in one hand or arm makes traditional instruments unplayable to any reasonable standard. As a result, millions across the world are excluded from music-making for the lack of suitable instruments. This includes people with congenital disabilities such as cerebral palsy and hemiplegia, amputees, those who have suffered a stroke or developed arthritis.
The organisation was established in 2011 by Dr. Stephen Hetherington, who began his career as an orchestral musician. It was Stephen’s own hemiplegic daughter, Amy, who alerted him to the lack of instruments available to disabled musicians.
The OHMI Trust’s objectives are to remove the barriers to music making faced by physically disabled people, and to enable undifferentiated participation in musical life, whether at school, in the home or in a professional ensemble.
OHMI runs an annual competition to encourage inventors, designers and instrument makers to develop a musical instrument that can be played without the use of one hand and arm, and that has all the characteristics and facility of a traditional instrument.
As new instruments for those who are physically disabled become available, the OHMI Trust is working with appropriate organisations to teach and promote their use to anyone previously excluded from making music by their disability.
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