A QUARRY Bank music teacher has taken her fundraising music concerts online to continue to help raise funds for the homeless during the coronavirus lockdown.

Musician Anna Downes, who is head of music at Thorns Collegiate Academy, has been organising the Music for Sanctuary charity concerts at venues across the Black Country and north Worcestershire since January 2019.

The concerts, which Anna started after noticing an increase in rough sleepers, have raised £9,500 for charities helping the homeless since the initiative was launched.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, she has moved the performances online - publishing links so viewers can make a donation - and to date she has raised £1,625 from the virtual performances.

Anna said: "The most vulnerable in society need help more than ever during this crisis."

The 43-year-old daughter of critically acclaimed composer Andrew Downes is organising the concerts in addition to home schooling her two children while self-isolating as she falls into the most vulnerable to coronavirus category as she has auto-immune conditions - inflammatory arthritis, thyroid disease and Crohn's disease.

Money from previous concerts has helped Leslie's Care Packages in Stourbridge, the Salvation Army and HELP in Kidderminster - and these latest online concerts have been pulling in money for Wyre Forest Nightstop, Black Country Foodbank, Good Shepherd Ministries Wolverhampton.

The concerts can be seen online at musicforsanctuary.org and on the group's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages and donations can be made via the Facebook page 'Music for Sanctuary - Concerts in aid of local homeless charities'.

Since March 20 Anna has uploaded 42 'Musical Moment' concerts - one each day.

Pianists Tony Bridgewater and Duncan Honeybourne, soprano Miriam Ridgway, tenor Matt Terrado, violinists Chloe Baker and Kathryn Masters, flute player Sonia England and oboe player Nadia Accili are among the musicians who have taken part in the initiative by staging virtual concerts from their homes.

Anna, a violinist, has also performed virtually with guitarist Chris Welch and with string and trumpet ensemble Trumpet Inspirations which also comprises Chloe Baker, Frank Stubbs, Carol Wheway and Joanne Stubbs.

Seven-year-old violinist Rose McDonagh also staged a performance which raised £600.

Anna said: "I have been delighted at how well the series of online concerts has been received and the positive comments from people who watch daily.

"I think while people are stuck indoors they look forward to some music to brighten their day. It's also a way for musicians and audiences alike to feel that they are doing something to help.

"The money raised will give continuing support to such worthwhile charities who provide shelter, food and holistic services for some of the most vulnerable people in society."