Robin House Children's Hospice
"Excellent work- not intrusive at all. Children felt very comfortable with Mark and Ros and very keen to join in.” Staff member.
" A boy with a decreasing level of consciousness and only managing a few words managed to say 'more music'... Absolute magic, better than medicine!" Staff member
Seasons of the Sun
Inspired by the changing seasons and funded by The Children's Hospice Association of Scotland (CHAS) and Jessie’s Fund, Seasons of the Sun provided Robin House with 4 x 4 day music residencies each year. During each visit, we stayed and worked on site at Robin House, allowing time to become part of the hospice ‘family’ of care, nursing and support staff, parents, children and siblings. A responsive programme of residency work was created over 4 years at Robin House that, as well as centering on the children and families visiting the hospice, included all the staff andused all public spaces within the newly designed building. Our aim was to create music with individuals and groups that was inspired by this unique environment, both emotionally and aesthetically, and to respond to the needs of all elements of the organisation, whether working with children and young people, siblings and parents, or delivering training and awareness sessions with staff and volunteers. As the programme developed staff would identify children and families who would benefit from our input and their visits to the hospice would be timed to coincide with the music residencies.
"I really enjoyed the first visit as it allowed me to see a child smile who I have never seen smiling before. This had a very positive and emotional effect on myself and other staff.....Wonderful!”
Sessions and activities included individual sessions for children and teenagers, family sessions, jam sessions for siblings, sessions with parents, sessions developing guitar playing for dads, training sessions for hospice staff, recording/creating of CD’s for families, songwriting, soundtrack recording, composing, playing and singing Christmas songs, music sessions in the gardens, providing music to accompany physiotherapy and swimming sessions and playing lullabies by the bedside for children at bedtime.
Project co-ordination by the hospice activities co-ordinator meant sessions were planned in response to the particular needs of the Hospice during the time of the visit. Recording of music created with families and children during the residencies became a vital component of the project.
Music awareness sessions were also used to train and raise awareness of the benefits of music activities within the hospice environment for staff and volunteers, as part the family bereavement programme, for staff team building and skills development, for memorial days and special occasions.
Evaluation through evidence collected in the form of informal and formal feedback (conversations with parents, musicians' diaries, staff feedback forms, childrens' comments and pictures, comments from doctors and nursing staff) formed the planning for future residencies.
End-of-residency meetings helped us to feedback our observations, discuss and monitor the project with staff and make recommendations to the hospice for how to carry on music activities between visits.
" The child I care for still listens to the CD you made for her at bedtime; if she is upset I play it and it calms her." Staff member.