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Music to their ears

A men’s mental health ward in Suffolk is seeing patients making music thanks to a new recording studio.

The new facilities at NSFT’s Foxhall House in Suffolk, plus a garden created with the help of the Beth Chatto foundation, took centre stage at a special open day, celebrating Quality Improvement projects, on Friday (Sep 10) for service users, staff and families.

It was also the first live performance of a rap by the Flu Crew, a group of service users, about the importance of keeping safe this winter and getting vaccinated.

What started as a music group at Foxhall House has now morphed into a £15,000 purpose-built recording studio.

Clinical Support Worker Christopher Price, who has been at the centre of the plan, said: “Service users said they wanted to make their own music and record themselves rapping. It basically started with me bringing my laptop in and using a cheap karaoke microphone. But then I reached out to some music tech companies who donated £3,000 of equipment.”

He also raised £500 from completing the Great East Swim last year, which meant they were able to buy a second-hand iMac and speakers.

But that wasn’t the end of the project. Christopher said: “I submitted a £15,000 capital bid to renovate the music room into a purpose-built space and an order is about to be placed with a music production specialist for equipment including a mixing desk, drum kit and microphones.”

Christopher has been joined in the running of the groups by new clinical support worker Peter Weatherley. Both have a degree in music production. He said: “Rapping, singing and playing instruments gives service users a real lift in mood, helps them focus and gives them a sense of achievement,” said Christopher.

Head of secure services Emma Lewis said: “What a great way to end the summer with an event in our very own garden at Foxhall House; a place both staff and patients have worked hard to make as peaceful and beautiful as possible as part of the wider Quality Improvement plan. I was so pleased to be able to see the first live performance of the Flu Crew  too..”

Matron Lindsay Sadler added: “While everyone wandered through the developing horticultural project, looking closely at the veggies, wild meadow and sensory garden and tucking into the barbecue, we were treated to live performances from the music group. The team was congratulated on its successes over the last 12 months and were excited to talk about what they have planned over the winter.”