This year we celebrated 10 whole years since starting the first ever Wishing Well music-making sessions with The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton! So much has happened over the last decade so we made a little something to give you an insight into what that means for us.
10 Years of Wishing Well Music for Health Part 1 & Part 2.
This year we released our first podcast! It was created and produced by one of our extremely talented Wishing Well musicians, Jack Kingslake.
Jack brings together voices of former and current participants from his time at Chalk Hill CAMHs Unit over the last three years. ‘Escucha Me (Listen to Me)’ is full of inspiring stories, conversations from the heart, and beautiful excerpts of music, created in sessions at Chalk Hill. The result is a powerful and honest conversation about music and mental health.
Public Space Sessions
In addition to our work on the wards, we took some time to share our music in the public spaces at Princess Royal and Royal Sussex County Hospitals. We had a fantastic response and look forward to more sessions in 2024!
Creative Health Review Launch – Live Stream
Wednesday 6th December 2023, 4-6pm, online
Join the National Centre for Creative Health (NCCH) and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing for a live stream of the Launch of the Creative Health Review on 6th December 2023. Live Streamed from Science Gallery London, King’s College.
The Creative Health Review highlights the potential for creative health to help tackle pressing issues in health, social care and more widely, including health inequalities and recovery from COVID-19. It demonstrates that creativity is not just a nice to have, but fundamental to individuals, communities and systems. It supports people to live well for longer, reducing the pressure on health and social care systems and contributing to a healthy and prosperous society.
The Review makes recommendations to Government and Metro Mayors for a cross-departmental strategy on creative health, which will support creative health to flourish and maximise its potential across key policy areas.
Since October 2022, the Review has held a series of online roundtables presenting evidence and examples of the powerful influence creative health can have on our health and wellbeing. Recordings of all the roundtables can be viewed via NCCH’s YouTube channel.
As part of our Youth Music funded programme in children and young people’s healthcare settings, we’re excited to offer places on our Apprenticeship Programme throughout 2024.
Successful applicants will work alongside the Wishing Well team in one of our partner hospitals for 10 weeks, receiving additional support and training before and after their project. This is a paid opportunity to gain experience working with children, young people and families in acute healthcare and to acquire skills which are transferable to all aspects of a music-based portfolio career.
Criteria for Apprentices
Have some experience/training in musical leadership in community settings.
This is a paid opportunity so you need to be registered as self-employed and have public liability insurance in place (we can help you with both of those things if needed).
A keen interest in bringing your music into acute healthcare settings, using your skills to support the wellbeing of the hospital community through connection, empowerment and expression.
A good communicator and be keen to develope a “reflective” practice.
To be available for a 10-week placement at one of our 2 partner hospitals in Haywards Health (mid-Sussex) or Brighton. (sessions are 2 hours long on a set day each week).
Chalk Hill, an in-patient CAMHs (child and adolescent mental health) ward in Haywards Heath (mid-Sussex), supporting our resident musician with one-to-one and small group sessions involving multi-instrumental work, composition, songwriting and production.
The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, Brighton. Bedside music-making in children’s critical care and medical wards. Appropriate children’s repertoire and confidence with singing and percussion are essential.
How to Get Involved
This is a rolling programme throughout 2023/24. To register your interest in the programme, please email [email protected]
Today marks World Mental Health Day 2023. We are so proud that on this day we are releasing our first-ever podcast, ‘Escucha Me (Listen to Me)’, created and produced by the incredibly talented Wishing Well musician, Jack!
Jack brings together voices of former and current participants from his time at Chalk Hill CAMHs Unit over the last three years. The result is a powerful and honest conversation about music and mental health.
‘Escucha Me (Listen to Me)’ is full of inspiring stories, conversations from the heart, and beautiful excerpts of music, created in sessions at Chalk Hill.
We are so excited to finally share this with you! A million thanks go to Jack for creating this as part of the Youth Music funded portfolio and to all the young people who shared their thoughts and music with us!
During the autumn term, I had the joy of taking part in the mentoring scheme with Bela at Forget Me Not, a dementia assessment unit, running community music workshops. This was an incredibly insightful experience for me. Working alongside Bela taught me so much about how to be a good community musician and the skills needed. Throughout the weeks, I felt more comfortable letting myself out of my own musical bubble to open myself to what was going on in the room. This experience also helped me to read the room and adapt to the energy and mood of the participants, but also making sure that everyone was as included as possible. There were a couple of instances when someone in the room had very high energy and was enjoying the free drumming whilst others wanted more repertoire-based music. Being able to discuss these decisions along with Bela and the OT’s after the sessions was very valuable to reflect on.
It was very interesting to notice the changes over the weeks in their engagement. Sometimes it was slight and sometimes we saw participants who had never actively engaged, sing entire songs to us and the group. One participant who was usually asleep during the sessions in her movable chair/bed sang the hokey cokey from her bed after which the whole group joined and tried doing as many of the movements. I experienced so many beautiful moments during my apprenticeship there, and the feedback from the participants during the sessions reinforced that feeling of joy:
One participant who had been retreating to his room since his arrival told us after his first music session during which he very actively engaged with the drums “You are all my brothers and sisters. When I am with my brothers and sisters, I can do anything”. The same participant told us after his second music session. “I feel happy. Before, I felt sad”. Another participant in the female ward said to us after her first session “I’ve never experienced anything like it. We just all improvised. We didn’t know each other and it all came together beautifully. It’s the power of music and the power of people”.
We are looking for new Trustees to complement our existing board.
What is a Trustee?
Trustees have overall control of a charity and are responsible for making sure it’s doing what it was set up to do. They may be known as other titles such as directors; board members, committee members; governors. Whatever they are called, trustees are the people who lead the charity and decide how it is run.
Be part of a small team making a big difference to healthcare settings across Sussex.
Contribute your knowledge and experience to an organisation with real expertise in bringing arts and health together in partnership.
All expenses covered.
Although not essential, we particularly encourage applications from people with ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds, disabilities and lived experience of the following;
Lived experience of caring for someone living with dementia.
Lived experience of caring for a child with health or mental health challenges.
We meet in-person four times a year in Brighton, although extra time in between meetings might be needed as appropriate.
Congratulations and big thanks to all 38 students who completed our ‘Music and the Future Doctor’ module this year!
We provide an elective module and Brighton and Sussex Medical School, which includes essential learning for future doctors in using a hospital musicians’ approach to building trust and rapport with patients and families. This ultimately leads to better clinical care.
We use examples from our decade of working with people in hospitals to explore the change when access to live, participatory music is included in hospital care.
We have, as ever, learned a lot from your discussions and presentations. Good luck with your ongoing studies!
Thank you, Janet Lee and Kamal Patel who helped us create and assess this course & Bela Emerson for leading the course.
I really enjoyed the rewarding nature of working as a musician in the hospital. Every session was new and I would come away feeling a sense of pride, hoping that I made any bit of difference to the children or parents that I’d seen that day. Music is such a powerful tool that can both bring out different emotions in people but also completely takes you out of the world for a small amount of time. This is why I love music so much, it stops the busy ‘chattering’ in my mind and allows me to feel instantly calm. Nothing else matters at that moment.
All of the children I saw at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital were very young so it was sometimes hard to tell if the music made a difference to them, but then on occasions, the children were dancing and playing instruments with us with a smile on their faces, uplifted by the music. These were such lovely moments to experience! The parents were so grateful, saying things like “Thank you so much! He’s loving it!” and would dance with them with big smiles across the child and parents’ faces. It was lovely seeing the staff smile and dance along as we passed through the corridors, playing nursery rhymes and songs that they knew.
I met little children with so much medical equipment (oxygen masks, wires, etc), which was sad to see, and a couple of times babies were desperately trying to take all of the equipment off. We tried our best to comfort and distract the babies and parents in a situation like this with music. I was shocked to see this because I had never been to a hospital and seen this level of equipment before, but I soon adjusted. By the second session, I felt completely comfortable and Marina (my mentor) and I spoke about everything we’d experienced after each session which was really useful.
Seeing the sadness and worry of the parents in the ward, I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be them. It really put things into perspective and made me want to make an impact in any way possible. Sharing music with the children and families was my way to do that.
It’s been a beautifully busy year for our incredible Wishing Well musicians, who have been making music with families and their babies, young people, older people and people living with dementia.
We are so grateful that this year we have been able to work face-to-face with our participants for the entire year. COVID is still very much present in hospitals, but restrictions are slowly easing. We are still wearing masks, but we have also been able to hold a hand, dance and play musical instruments together again – this has been a joy!
2022 was the year we became a registered charity, put our 3 year strategy in place and talked to our hospital partners about the ever growing need for music making to make life better for our hospital communities..
Our Wishing Well family grew this year! We welcomed a comms assistant, a fundraiser and a fourth Trustee to our Board.
We have exciting plans for 2023. More on that to come…
Here are some of the things we’ve been up to in 2022:
We are beyond grateful for all the support we have received. It means we are able to bring so magical musical joy to people in healthcare settings for another year!
Working alongside Jack at Chalk Hill for Wishing Well’s mentorship scheme has been a truly incredible experience. The opportunity to connect with the young people through music has been deeply rewarding and insightful both on a personal and professional level.
With the focus of the sessions being on music making, the scheme empowered me to exercise and progress my production and songwriting skills, with the aim of ensuring the space felt positive and judgement free. Watching the young people at Chalk Hill develop and become more confident as the weeks went on was both thrilling and contagious! We wrote some serious hits! It was a huge highlight to be involved in the encouragement of their songcraft and creativity, as well as enabling the space for them to express themselves. Many were outstandingly gifted and own real musical as well as artistic potential, and watching that self-discovery strengthen and grow over the sessions was astonishing.
Writing music has been a mode of therapy for me for years, and it feels so special to be a part of the realisation for others too. The support, encouragement and guidance Wishing Well provided before, during, and after the scheme has made for an invaluable few months.
On a personal level, the scheme has solidified so much for me and my future. My ambition and passion to explore and engage in community music projects have become even more ignited, and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to build a solid foundation of experience thanks to the mentorship.
If you are considering the Wishing Well mentorship, I could not recommend it more. You will be immersed in an experience which will most likely change your life, and even better, others’ lives.
I am sad for the scheme to be over, but I am excited at the prospect of future community music projects. To everyone at Wishing Well & Chalk Hill, thank you. You have fuelled a fire in me that I’m sure will now forever burn!
As part of our work in children’s healthcare settings in Sussex, we offer training and apprenticeships to emerging music facilitators who want to bring their skills into hospitals to support the wellbeing of the hospital community. If you’re a Musician under 25 years of age and want to get involved in our programme, we’d love to hear from you! Email [email protected].