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4th December, 2017

UCLH partnership project wins Building Better Healthcare award

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A project that uses music to bring “sunshine” to the days of older patients has won a prestigious award.

‘Music, Memory and Me’, a partnership project between University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning triumphed at the Building Better Healthcare awards.

This annual ceremony celebrates innovation and improvement in buildings, architecture, medical devices and people working in the healthcare industry.

The project, in which musicians on the Guildhall School’s Leadership programme bring music and song to older patients, including those with dementia, was named Best Collaborative Arts Project (Performance).

‘Music, Memory and Me’ is part of a wider initiative which uses music and song to break down barriers, from unlocking hard to reach memories in dementia patients, to encouraging impromptu sing-alongs among patients who would normally prefer to be alone.

This project, funded by UCLH Charity and The Friends of UCLH, and established and coordinated by Leadership alumna Rhia Parker, also provides ward staff with a valuable extra insight into their patients and students with the invaluable opportunity to utilise their skills to improve the patient experience. The sessions have become a welcome addition to ward life in hospitals.

One patient said: “It brings sunlight to the afternoon. I feel happy and alive.”

Another said: “It’s amazing how the words are there, somewhere, in the back of my mind.”

Guy Noble, UCLH’s arts curator, said: “There is something hugely important about music’s ability to break down barriers and bring people together. Using young musicians to bring music to older patients has created a sense of shared meaning, identity and a lot of joy and laughter. ‘Music, Memory and Me’ is a hugely important project and it is a privilege and a delight to share this award with the Guildhall School.”

Rhia Parker, Project Leader and an alumna of the Guildhall School, said: “In every session that we do, myself and the team witness first-hand the transformative potential of music. Whether it’s a moment of re-connection to one’s own past via a childhood song, or a new connection made to a carer through the shared act of listening and singing, ‘Music, Memory and Me’ allows patients to have a voice, a history, and a present. It’s humbling to be witness to an often emotional process of remembering, as well as a real privilege to offer a space where someone can feel valued and celebrated for who they are now. We are incredibly grateful to UCLH for their ongoing support, and feel honoured to have received this award.”

About Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning

A pioneering cultural alliance that brings together world-class artistic partners with students and communities in ground-breaking new ways to create inspiring arts experiences for all. The Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning programme draws on 30 years’ experience of working in east London to launch cultural partnerships that offer outstanding creative opportunities for every young person across eight east London boroughs. It creates new routes for people to take part in the arts – from first experiences to higher education programmes and professional training – developing interests, skills, confidence and careers.

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