The UK Mental Health and Wellbeing Awards 2021, Support During the Pandemic
We are thrilled to announce that the UK Mental Health and Wellbeing Awards 2021, Support During the Pandemic, was won by Care for Music Team Member, Fraser Simpson. Fraser won the award on behalf of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy for his work including work that facilitates the Mountbatten Hospice Community Choir Project. Mountbatten delivers hospice and end of life services across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, supporting up to 3,000 people on any one day within their own homes, as well as in the hospices buildings. The Community Choir Project was one of 17 shortlisted projects to be nominated for this prestigious award.
In his acceptance speech, Fraser described how, along with virtually every other care service provider in the UK during the pandemic, for many months Mountbatten’s very active psycho-social program (open to the entire local community) and day, self-help and rehabilitation services had to be delivered very differently – with many of these services being delivered virtually through on-line services and programmes. To keep the choir active, Fraser supported music therapy services to move online, and several of the Hospice’s music groups began to run via zoom, including the Hospice’s more than 50-member strong Community Choir.
In March 2021, Gary and Tia spoke to members of the Choir via a zoom focus group. The members described how their participation in the choir offered relief from the social isolation of lockdown and a way of staying connected to the Hospice and all the people there whom they greatly missed. They described how the online choir provided, ‘a very welcome sense of purpose and belonging’. They said it gave them a sense of accomplishment (mastering all the new IT things that zoom entailed, for example), and opportunities to see and speak with each other. The zoom choir meetings also gave rise to various spin-off groups such as a choir chat meeting.
The Choir recorded and released several songs, including one entitled One Day Soon. The song was composed by members of a group of young adults with life-limiting conditions. Choir members described how the song’s lyrics were about hope and the importance of social connection. You can find it here.
Fraser has worked as a music therapist for over twenty years. He is South West & South Wales Regional Manager for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy. His work includes one-to-one music therapy sessions, group sessions, work with families and the Mountbatten Choir. You can read an earlier blog by Fraser about the online choir here
Congratulations Fraser, Nordoff Robbins, Mountbatten, the Young Adults Group, and the Choir Members!