Chalk Hill Mentorship by Annabel Allum

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].

An apprenticeship with Wishing Well, by Raphaelle Kent.

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. Its been a joy working with 22-year-old  fiddle player, Raph kent who joined us at The Alex last Autumn. 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].

Here’s Raph:

In June 2021, I had the chance to take part in a training programme with Wishing Well Music for Health, as a mentee healthcare musician at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton. Before hearing about the organisation from a friend, I thought the only way that music and healthcare might overlap was in music therapy. I never knew musicians could go into many different hospital settings and provide musical experiences centered around the patients’ need, in that moment.

Having spent time in hospital myself as a teenager, I had never come across a healthcare musician, but on reflection, I have thought about how I would have found it a refreshing experience, a holistic intervention in the clinical environment that is “hospital”. Having the chance to experience this role has really given me an insight into the ways music can simultaneously affect people’s physical, emotional and spiritual states in a way that shows how music has an important place in healthcare, especially for those in times of crisis.  

During my time at The Alex, I had the chance to see a few encounters between children, parents, and carers facilitated by music that were really special. A particular encounter I remember was with a 10-year-old girl who had quite complex needs. She was nonverbal but extremely expressive through facial expressions and sounds. She was very  responsive to the violin and she would close her eyes and move her head with the music, joining in with sounds and clicking. I had never seen somebody experience music in such an authentic way and found it particularly moving. Her carer had expressed that she loved the violin and it was very evident as soon as she saw the instrument!  

Over the 10 week programme, there were some children who were on the ward for weeks at a  time, meaning we had a few sessions with familiar faces. I found it interesting to see children more than once as it was a different experience each time, highlighting the much-needed adaptability of a healthcare musician. Amy, the musician I was working with, took the lead with matching the mood of the room. One week we met a mother of a 7-year-old girl who was just about to have surgery. She was very worried as her daughter was distressed and in pain. Amy and  I played the theme of ‘Moana’ softly at the door, allowing space for the girl and her mum to be together, but not alone in their experience.  

A week later we came on to the ward to see the little girl sitting up in bed and smiling, with her mum and grandma beside her. I followed Amy’s lead again as we approached in a different way to the week before, playing the same tunes but with a tone that reflected the family’s relief. Her mum thanked us for the 2 times we played for them and it was lovely to see that they remembered us from the week before. 

The hospital staff at the Alex were always welcoming to me, and it is clear that the Wishing Well team make a valuable difference in the hospital, both to patients and to staff. This mentor programme was a wonderful experience and a great glimpse into what it takes to be a  healthcare musician! 

Opportunities for emerging music leaders.

Mentor Programme

As part of our Youth Music funded programme in children and young people’s healthcare settings, we’re excited to offer places on our Mentor Programme throughout 2022-23. 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.

This is a rolling programme throughout 2022/23. To find out more, please email [email protected]

Criteria for Mentees

You’ll  need:

-to be 25 years of age or under, during your placement with us

-to 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)

-to have 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.

-to be 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, confidence with singing and percussion essential.

Note that we have to wear masks at both of these settings – we are allowed to sing but not to use mouth blown instruments.

 This is a rolling programme throughout 2022/23. To register your interest in the programme, please email [email protected]

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Wishing Well Music for Health CIC has just launched!

There’s been a lot of change for us over the summer but we are over the moon to share our news with you!!
Wishing Well has just launched as a brand new Community Interest Company! Meet our 3 Directors: Marie Benton, CEO of Choir with No Name, Janet Lee, Children’s Critical Care Practitioner at The Royal Alex in Brighton and Jo White who has been with the programme since it’s creation. We are committed to continuing Wishing Well’s work; bringing the joy of music-making right to the heart of healthcare to enrich the lives of people young and old while they are in hospital. Tricky times are when we turn to the arts to help us express how we feel, connect with others and uplift ourselves. We’re going to make sure that people and their families, spending long days and weeks in hospital get to do just that.

“In An Octopus’s Garden” Wishing Well at The Alex

We are delighted to launch an evaluation report of our Wishing Well Music in Healthcare programme at The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton. This report, created by East Midlands based organisation Well Within Reach, offers insights and resources for people working in the field of Culture and Health who are interested in deepening their understanding of how participatory music making can build relationships that benefit everyone on the hospital ward.

We wanted to work with Well Within Reach to better understand how music can support a child’s developing brain and nervous system during the potentially traumatic experience of being in hospital. The report presents key findings following a year of collaboration, observations and training.

What is in the report?

The report is made up of 2 main sections.
First, a series of case studies of our work at The Alex, seen through a “3 stage relationship” model.This provides a way of understanding the process of beginning, strengthening and ending musical interactions in hospitals where Musicians work in sensitive and often unpredictable situations.

The second section offers a tool kit of evidence, research and methodologies relevant to our work. We hope these resources will be useful to music practitioners, health professionals and funders who want to deepen their understanding of how music making and person centred interactions can create nurturing, expressive, therapeutic environments for children in hospital.

Thank you!
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the children and young people, families and staff at The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton for making music with us and supporting our work. Our partnership demonstrates the amazing things that can happen when health and cultural organisations work together.
Thank you to Well Within Reach for taking us on such a fascinating journey of learning, reflection and inspiration.
Thank you to The National Foundation for Youth Music and to BBC Children in Need for funding the Wishing Well programme and this evaluation.

Projects like Wishing Well at the Alex are only made possible by our generous supporters.


What a night!

Last night was an amazing night for Wishing Well – we were a finalist at the HSJ awards!!! It was wonderful to receive this recognition of the amazing partnership that we’ve developed with The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital over the past 6 years.


Being a finalist in this prestigious awards, and having our work recognised on a national level is a huge honor. We would like to congratulate all of last nights finalists and winners!



Wishing Well featured in Public Health Report!

We are delighted to have our work  featured in Brighton and Hove County Council’s ‘The Art of Good Health’ report. The report highlights the positive impact that being involved in the arts can have on health and wellbeing from cradle to grave. The report demonstrates that the arts can be delivered in almost any setting, including hospitals.


 The report features our  work at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital. Our trained music leaders go onto the wards three times a week, bringing acoustic instruments and music technology right to children’s bedsides. The interactions provide vital stimulation to help them develop, distracts from uncomfortable procedures, and creates a sense of community between children, families, and hospital staff. You can read our case study in the report here.



Music Helps People With Dementia Reconnect

We are delighted to announce the release of a short film by the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust showing our Wishing Well programmes work with older people living with dementia in Community Hospitals. We use music to build a bridge across the isolation caused by dementia, helping people to connect with the people around them again.

Lead Nurse Lucy Frost told us that, ”It brings the patients and staff and visitors all together, and it helps us  also known a little bit about the patient, because to every point in somebody’s life, they often have a song about it.”

Wishing Well brings live music-making interactions right to people’s bedsides and to communal spaces to help relieve the anxiety and isolation that they can experience. Soundtracks we accumulate throughout our lives are vividly retained in the memories of people even in the late stages of dementia. We  tap into these soundtracks to reduce some of the anxiety they experience.

”It changed the whole environment of our hospital. The staff are more motivated to try different things with the patients, they have introduced games, and the patients find it fun and when you are reflecting fun, than you get fun back, it creates a really good atmosphere.” Nurse reflects on the effect that music has on the hospital.

Our work is only made possible by our generous supporters please click donate and help us continue to bring music to people!

Dragons give their support to Wishing Well in community hospitals!

After an inspiring (and challenging!) ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event on Friday 28th September,  we’re thrilled to have won the backing of Kent, Surrey and Sussex Dementia Care Improvement Network for our project with Sussex Community NHS.
As part of a drive to work in partnership with more community hospitals, we’ll be placed initially within Crawley Hospital, bringing live music to those living with dementia.  We can’t wait to get going!
We’re thrilled to be able to build on this work and extend our thanks once again for the generosity of the KSSDCIN.
To learn about the impact that music-making can have on those living with dementia, watch our recent feasibility study here.

Rhythmix shortlisted for HSJ Award alongside the Royal Alex!

We’re over the moon to announce that our work with The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton has been shortlisted for a highly prestigious HSJ Award! Through our Wishing Well programme, we’ve been making music with children and families in critical care at The Alex since 2013 and now, “Wishing Well at The Alex” is shortlisted in the “compassionate care” category. Partnership working is at the heart of our project’s success and enables to work with the poorliest children and their families and make a difference to their time in hospital. When we make music together, the hospital ward becomes a place where ideas are flowing, people are expressing themselves and showing what they can do …amid all the loss and trauma of long hospital stays, creating this bubble of safety can make a huge difference.

Reflecting on the news, Children’s Critical Care Practitioner Janet Lee said that,
“It is our job to make sure that we enrich the lives of the children and families that we look after in as many ways as possible whilst they are in our care – music is one of the ways that we can do that”.

For more information on the national HSJ Awards, please visit: