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The Healthy Orchestra Charter is a joint initiative by the Association of British Orchestras and the Musicians' Benevolent Fund. Launched at the 2006 ABO Conference, the aim of the Charter is to set an industry-wide standard of care and award Charter Marks to orchestras that are displaying good practice towards the physical, mental and emotional health of employees - both orchestral musicians and their management.
The Charter has been designed to give an indication of the different areas that orchestras ought to consider, including rehearsal and performance conditions, venue facilities and management responsibility.
In 2010, after the first three years, the Charter was independently evaluated by Annabel Jackson Associates. Following that evaluation and some of the recommendations contained in the report, the Association of British Orchestras and the Musicians Benevolent Fund, together with the independent adjudicators began a process of revising and revalidating the Charter. It was launched in its updated form in May 2011.
The Charter is non-competitive and awards are based on how successful each applicant's practices, policies, procedures and facilities are in achieving the highest standards possible within their means for protecting the occupational health and safety of their employees.
Whilst inevitably there are some specific areas of risk that are more pertinent to orchestral musicians, the Charter is fundamentally about the promotion and protection of a healthy lifestyle and ensuring that all musicians and managers are fit and healthy to perform and present world class orchestral music.
Why have a Healthy Orchestra Charter?
With increasingly demanding performance schedules both at home and abroad the Healthy Orchestra Charter is an ideal mechanism to: