A KIDDERMINSTER music teacher has enlisted the support of scores of musicians from across the West Midlands to raise thousands of pounds for the area's homeless.

Anna Downes had refused to be beaten by lockdown and has replaced live concerts with online broadcasts which are helping to keep the donations pouring in.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov 25) a series of Christmas concerts begins organized by Anna’s Music for Sanctuary charitable organisation.

Since February last year it has raised £12,500 for a host of charities, including Wyre Forest Nightstop for the homeless; Salvation Army Worcestershire; Leslie’s Care Packages in Stourbridge; Black Country Foodbank.

Anna’s father is well-known Hagley composer Andrew Downes and she is a former Director of Music at Old Swinford Hospital School in Stourbridge and head of music at the Thorns Academy in Dudley.

Two Christmases ago she and her sons, Oscar and Max, went to Birmingham to deliver food parcels to homeless people and she says her eyes were opened.

“We must have seen forty homeless, some missing limbs, between Snow Hill and New Street.”

And so began her mission of tapping into her musical contacts and friends and organising regular concerts.

While many were based at Hagley, there was also a Christmas gala at Kidderminster Town Hall and others further afield, including Netherton and Wednesbury.

More than 50 musicians from across the area have taken part, from as far afield as Hay on Wye and Birmingham.

The Hagley Community orchestra are regular supporters.

The lockdown in March put paid to live concerts, but online ones have proved a big success – including one by a musician from Barcelona.

Anna’s work as a professional violinist has been hugely reduced by Covid – from 90 dates last year to more like 5.

But it has meant she has had more time to organise her charitable work and ensure no slackening of the donations coming in.

She said: “It’s been a tough year but I am immensely impressed and proud of all the people who have contributed.

“Homeless people are even more vulnerable than ever. As we are all tempted to look inwards at the moment they can be the forgotten ones.”

To see the concert schedule and how to watch the concerts go to: www.musicforsanctuary.org