Songbirds is a specialist music project working with some of the most isolated and long term hospitalised children on the wards of Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. Our research has shown how these children and their families are helped in coping with the stress and anxiety of being in hospital through taking part in and listening to specially composed live music in our tailor-made sessions which take place at children's bedsides.
Many of our Songbirds children cannot speak and music is a vital way for them to communicate and express themselves. Staff have reported how Songbirds sessions help to reduce stress at times when families are extremely vulnerable; the music helps families to connect together, and gives parents support in knowing their children are being engaged in a stimulating, creative activity.
This year Songbirds has been shortlised for a prestigious Building Better Healthcare Award. We have been asked to attend the ceremony but as all our funding goes on paying musicians to deliver music sessions and creating the programme for our children and families, we do not have the funds to pay for a ticket for a member of our team to attend the ceremony or pay for a return train ticket to London for the event.
Attending this ceremony will gives us a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of the work we do with children and families, and to advocate for the importance of music in the lives of hospitalised children. It will also help us to raise our profile with Manchester Foundation Trust, and put music at the heart of healthcare for long term hospitalised children and their families.