Charity looks set to hit right note with chimes

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A mental health project in Rotherham is helping older people enjoy and engage with music thanks to a donation of more than £1,300.

The £1,385 donation from Sheffield not-for-profit health insurance provider Westfield Health has enabled community arts charity Action Space Mobile to buy handchime instruments for the music therapy scheme.

The Music in Health project is based at Woodlands Mental Health Unit at Rotherham Hospital and is run by the charity, which has operated in the South Yorkshire region for more than 20 years.

Musician Matthew Laurie, who works with Action Space Mobile and organises projects for older people in care settings, said: “One of the challenges of working with older people is they tend to have limited manual dexterity which is often required for playing instruments.

“My task was to find instruments that offered a satisfying musical experience while also being easy to hold and play.

“Handchimes have been successful in music therapy projects in other parts of the UK as they are easily held, produce a beautiful soothing sound and can be played as part of a group or choir, allowing several people to work together to produce the melodies of tunes well-known to older people which helps tap into their experiences, memories and interests.

“Patients do not need to be able to read music, have a musical background or be able to sing or play an instrument. This makes the handchimes a superb resource for group work with older people but cost was proving a prohibitive factor for us.”

The charity bought a two- octave set of handchimes and an iPad Mini, which allows people with very low motor skills to make music using only an outstretched finger.