Music programme turns Sheffield Children's Hospital patients into festival go-ers

A new programme of music has given Sheffield Children’s Hospital a festival feel this summer, with patients enjoying a series of workshops and live performances.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 4:07 pm
Summer of music entertains young patients at Sheffield Children's Hospital

More than 800 young patients staying at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and their families, have enjoyed music-making fun in recent weeks, thanks to charity funding.

The programme, called ‘Artfelt Sounds,’ was delivered by Artfelt - The Children’s Hospital Charity’s arts programme, and supported by a generous grant of almost £10,000 from the National Lottery Community Foundation.

Live musical performances have taken place regularly in the hospital’s waiting areas, while the wards have benefitted from bespoke music workshops which have allowed patients and families to socialise.

Summer of music entertains young patients at Sheffield Children's Hospital

One-on-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.

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

Henry has been staying at the children's hospital whilst receiving treatment for chronic granulomatous disease – a rare condition affecting the immune system.

Henry’s mum Katie, aged 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 the chance for him to get involved.

Summer of music entertains young patients at Sheffield Children's Hospital

“The team 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.

“Henry loved absolutely every moment of the session, 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’s wonderful to break up our stay.

“We soon joined the ukulele club and the activities were just so well thought out. The team had considered what the children would want really well. It also means so much to find out that the whole summer programme was charity-funded.”

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

The programme 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 engagement co-ordinator, Charlotte Newton, who wrote the programme for the festival, said: “We have had an amazing response to Artfelt Sounds over the summer.

“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 per cent 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.”

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

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.”

Visit www.tchc.org.uk/artfelt for further details on Artfelt’s role in making the clinical more comfortable at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and to find out more about how you can support their important work.