Children and young people being looked after at Hampshire Hospitals are filling the wards with music, thanks to charity support. 

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) has teamed up with charity George’s Rockstars to provide musical instruments and a music therapist at the trust’s hospitals in Basingstoke and Winchester, brightening the days of smaller inpatients.  

Music therapy is being introduced to help children and young people have the best possible experience whilst in hospital, making them a little less homesick and providing them with a new way to communicate how they are feeling. Sessions are taking place weekly with a music therapist at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.  

Julie Dawes, chief nurse at the trust, said: “We know that being in hospital for younger people can be daunting or, for some children, mean spending a lot of time in hospital and we want to make sure they have the best possible experience. 

“This music therapy donation will give the children we look after the chance to express themselves through the power of music, provide a great distraction and support their wellbeing and recovery. We are looking forward to seeing – and hearing! - how this will help our patients over the months and years to come.” 

Music therapist Cathy Birch, who is working in partnership with the trust and George’s Rockstars said: “Whilst most specialist children’s hospitals employ music therapists, many local hospitals are not able to stretch their funding to meet this - which is where George’s Rockstars comes in. By providing both instruments and the music therapist more children are able to access this important service.  

“For children who have life-threatening illnesses or disabilities, music therapy can be an extremely effective way of helping them to communicate their thoughts, feelings and worries during difficult and stressful times.” 

The founder of George’s Rockstars, Amy O’Shaughnessy, saw the benefits of music therapy first-hand after her son, George was isolated for a bone marrow transplant at Bristol Children’s Hospital, at four years old. The charity was set up in November 2019 to provide a positive outlet for children, the same way music therapy did for George. 

Amy O’Shaughnessy said: “We are really pleased to be bringing music therapy to the children at Hampshire hospitals. It has been really well received by the families we have worked with at Queen Alexander Hospital (Portsmouth) and gives children a way to deal with their emotions about being in hospital through music.” 

To find more information on George’s Rockstars, visit their website here.