Ring in new year with donations to provide music therapy for county's Sue Ryder residents

The Sue Ryder charity is hoping supporters will dig deep in the new year to help finance more music therapy sessions at its neurological care centre in Lancashire .

By Fiona Finch
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 4:55 am
Karen Masterson (left), Clare Maddocks (centre) and Elsie Longton, pictured at the Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre in Fulwood

After appealing for donations in October the charity was delighted to receive some £10,000 in donations. But another £31,000 is still needed to secure and extend the Centre's music therapy service at its premises on Teal Avenue in Fulwood, Preston.

Amongst those keen to sing the praises of the service are two of its recipients, centre residents Elsie Longton and Karen Masterson.

Elsie, 78, is from Chorley and has restricted mobility due to multiple sclerosis. She said: "I love it because I've always loved singing. Mum and dad always sang round the house and I always sang at work when I worked in an office. It's so good to be able to sing again, it's brilliant."

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Emma Leipher Finlayson, national head of community fundraising for Sue Ryder

Mother of three and grandmother of five Elsie praised tutor Clare Maddocks, who plays guitar and other instruments and leads the singing. She said: "It's so good to listen to her playing. She's a lovely voice and is so enthusiastic and caring. I feel better when the (music therapy) session finishes - it lifts me. I look forward to it. . I love listening to music.I get a lot out of it.

Elsie said that for Sue Ryder residents who have difficulty communicating the benefit is also evident. She said: "Some of the people are non-verbal, but they are there listening and it's a good atmosphere."

Karen from Cleveleys, who worked as a typist, has a congenital spinal deformity, cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus. The 66 year old said: "The singing and the songs are interesting. I play the chimes. "

Both Elsie and Karen play instruments which can be activated with minimum movement during the therapy sessions such as wind chimes and an ocean drum.

Karen Masterson pictured playing wind chimes

For Christmas the music group adapted the popular song Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas to add words to make it a personalised song featuring their Christmas memories with the title Have Yourself A Sue Ryder Christmas.

Clare started pilot sessions at the Fulwood centre and does group and one to one sessions, She said: "Obviously it has been incredibly well received so the pilot got extended for another six months."

Overall she said she has seen the immense benefit of sessions on residents and explained: "It's a really nice way for people, who can come together every week, to share their passion and enjoyment for music with others. In the new year we are hoping to maybe build up some additional groups at Sue Ryder. On the upper floor we have people who are very physically limited and we would have a joint resident and staff group."

Clare said some clients can have delayed reactions to music but stressed music is a wonderful sensory stimulant, especially for those who are cognitively aware but cannot communciate so well. She said: "It is something they can still access. Music lights up lots of different regions of our brain."

Elsie Longton pictured playing the drum during a music therapy session

Clare said such residents may still be able to listen, hear and comprehend language. The sessions also signal that: "We know they are there and we value them."

Amy Philipson, client social and wellbeing coordinator said: "Before the session we go round and ask each client if they want to play an instrument and what instrument they would like. We do try to switch it up a bit so they aren't playing the same instrument every week. It's good for people who are non-verbal. You can just see they are happy - one client just loves music and sits and watches the other people, it's a really good atmosphere."

The therapy is also used to help rehabilitate patients who are resident at Sue Ryder for shorter rehabilitation stays. Emma Leipher Finlayson who is the national head of community fundraising at Sue Ryder said the therapy ahs ongoing physical and psychological health benefits.

Emma is hoping, individuals, communtites and businesses will back the appeal. She said: " We are really grateful for the generosity shown by the public so far. People can fundraise as part of a Challenge event. For example in the new year there's a (Sue Ryder) 'walk 10,000 steps every day in February' or you can take part in local challenges. People are welcome to get involved and raise funds that way. "

Donations can be made online or, after January 4, by phone. Emma added: "We want to take the opportunity to encourage any local businesses who are in a position to support us to help raise funds for this vital therapy."

* Donations can be made online on the charity's donate page: www.sueryder.org/donate/neuro-donation * Alternatively call the Supporter Care team on 0808 164 4572 (Monday-Friday, 9am–5pm) . The line is closed for the Christmas/new year break and reopens on January 4

* Businesses wishing to donate can cotnact the Care Centre directly on 01772 627374 or contact Emma on 07974 262419 or email her at [email protected] Donations should be listed as 'Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Lancashire Music Therapy'.

For more about the launch of the appeal see here For more on the Centre see here and here* The Lancashire Post is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. For unlimited access to Lancashire news and information online, you can subscribe here.