Young Yorkshire hospital patients enjoy summer of bedside live-music thanks to charity funding

Henry Holmes
Henry Holmes
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Young patients staying at Sheffield Children’s Hospital have enjoyed live music-making over the summer thanks to a music festival made possible by charity funding.

More than 800 patients and their families were entertained this summer by ‘Artfelt Sounds’, delivered by Artfelt and The Children’s Hospital Charity’s arts programme.

Staff having a ukulele break

Staff having a ukulele break

Live musical performances took place in the hospital’s waiting areas, while the wards benefitted from bespoke music workshops allowing patients and families to socialise.

The charity was supported by a generous grant of almost £10,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund.

One to one bedside sessions were also offered to children unable to leave their beds, ensuring that no-one missed out on the festival fun of the summer holidays.

Artfelt Engagement Coordinator Charlotte Newton, who programmed the festival, said: “We have had an amazing response to Artfelt Sounds over the summer.

Musician Holly Marland  with Reuben and Sophia Sharples2

Musician Holly Marland with Reuben and Sophia Sharples2

"It has been a privilege to work on this festival and witness some incredibly moving musical interactions between our patients and musicians.”

“We have brought music-making to bedsides, waiting areas and play rooms to make it accessible to all the children. Over the past six weeks, our patients have learned simple drumming techniques, experimented with electronic music, chose the pop songs in our live violin sessions, joined our ukulele club and experienced beautiful and beguiling world music concerts.

“100% of patients, families and staff interviewed said it improved their visit and working environment. The feedback we have received on comment cards has been incredibly uplifting and it really proves how music-making can positively transform our hospital environment.”

The programme featured an array of highly-skilled musicians from across the region, whose expertise will form a diverse and high-quality line-up, including Brightside Music, The Music Toolbox, Koni Music, drummer Brian Bestall and violinist Sarah Sharp.

It was carefully curated following a vote of patients, parents and staff, as well as consultation with the Youth Forum at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Artfelt tested out music sessions earlier in the year which were met with great success, inspiring the idea for a summer music festival.

One patient who loved the programme was 5-year-old Henry Holmes.

Henry was receiving treatment for Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD) which is a rare condition affecting the immune system.

Henry’s Mum Katie, 37, said: “Henry had been unable to leave his room for a few days as he was feeling unwell.

"So, when they asked if we would like to do a DJ session in the playroom, we jumped at it.

“They spent 45 minutes with him and used an electronic synthesizer, building the track from a simple beat to just the way he wanted it sound. He loved every moment and it cheered him right up.

“Music makes anyone happy, but when you’re in hospital and in a repetitive routine with a small child, it was wonderful to break up our stay. We soon joined the ukulele club and the activities were so well thought out, they had considered what the children would want really well. It means so much to find out it was charity-funded.”

In addition to the music festival, the Artfelt workshop programme currently runs a diverse array of activities, complete with visual arts and crafts workshops, cinema screenings, video gaming, pottery, graphic design and live theatre shows.

Charlotte continued: “Artfelt is all about using visual arts, crafts, music and performance to get children socialising, expressing and enjoying themselves.

“Distracting a patient for just a few minutes before an operation or to break up a long stay on the ward can improve their wellbeing, build confidence and ensure their experience at Sheffield Children’s Hospital is a positive one.”

To find out more about Artfelt’s role in making the clinical more comfortable at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and how you can support their important work, visit: www.tchc.org.uk/artfelt