Disabled musicians will have a new chance to explore the power of music after a charity opened a shop and studio.

Electric Umbrella opened the shop in The Marlowes Shopping Centre, Hemel Hempstead, on Saturday.

The shop will both raise money for the Watford-based charity, which gives disabled people the chance to perform live, and give its members the chance to work in the shop, workshop and studio.

Electric Umbrella CEO Mel Boda said: “The opening of our Electric Umbrella Emporium is a dream come true, beautifully realised by our amazing team for the benefit of the whole community.

Watford Observer:

The opening of the Electric Umbrella Emporium

“Electric Umbrella is all about putting our learning-disabled members centre stage, providing them with a purpose by creating meaningful opportunities.”

The shop opening follows the successful ‘1000 Instruments’ campaign, which has encouraged the charity to look for new ways to use their new stock.

The shop was opened by their patron Lord-Lieutenant Robert Voss. He said: "I have attended quite a number of the performance sessions, the workshops, the concerts, even the practice sessions. They are all great fun.

Watford Observer:

Lord Lieutenant Robert Voss cuts the ribbon

"It is great they now have a proper home so the members know exactly where they can go to practise. I am proud to be the patron of Electric Umbrella and to see how they have grown."

Members can do work experience in the store, use the workshop to fix or “re-imagine” instruments and make music in the studio.

Watford Observer:

Electric Umbrella member Rob (left)

One such member is Rob, who said: "The emporium creates a lot of exciting things, lots of opportunities - to sing, to talk to people…it’s really good.

“I will learn how things run with all the great people that are here and learn different skills, stuff that I didn’t know before and I think I’ll get fun out of it as well!

“I’m looking forward to working with the guys and having some time to take in what is here.”

Electric Umbrella currently relies on grants and donations, it is hoped that sales from the store will help them to do more work in the community.

Watford Observer:

Some of the stock in the Electric Umbrella Emporium

Hertfordshire Community Foundation director Helen Gray said: “Improving lives in Hertfordshire is at the core of Hertfordshire Community Foundation’s work.

“We are delighted to have been able to provide a grant towards making this initiative a reality and supporting Electric Umbrella in enriching local lives.”