This summer, the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be piloting a pioneering stroke rehabilitation programme, benefitting up to 50 Hull-based patients and carers. Working in conjunction with Hull City Council Health & Wellbeing Board, the Hull Integrated Community Stroke Services (HICSS) delivered by Humber NHS Foundation Trust, and Hull City Hall, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra musicians and workshop leaders will use group music-making and creativity to aid in a wide range of stroke rehabilitation needs.

The venture has been made possible thanks to a generous £48,000 of funding from the Hull City Council Health & Wellbeing Board.

Chair of the Board, Councillor Colin Inglis said “We feel privileged to be able to offer local stroke patients and their families the opportunity to work with people recognised as some of the world’s best musicians. It will be fascinating to discover the benefits of participation for those whose lives are affected by a stroke.

“This project is a fresh approach to tackling a number of issues faced by stroke patients and their families, from both a physical and a mental perspective. It promises to be an enriching and enjoyable experience for those who take part and we look forward to the sessions starting.”

Following a three-month Research and Development phase, the programme will bring together professional musicians and stroke therapists to engage stroke survivors to support their personal, physical, emotional and cognitive stroke recovery goals. These include improved sensation, mobility, strength, flexibility, cognitive function and speech, as well as mental wellbeing.

During the course of the programme, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra musicians and creative leader Tim Steiner will support patients to devise their own original works drawing inspiration from their lives in Hull, as well as the Orchestra’s concert programmes. These will then be performed in a celebratory pre-concert performance prior to the Orchestra’s Hull City Hall 2015/16 Classical Season opening concert on Thursday 1 October 2015.

This innovative programme will take place across spring, summer and autumn this year with 16 days of intensive project work, during which Hull Integrated Community Stroke Services therapists and staff will monitor results to assess the immediacy and longevity of the benefits of music-making as rehabilitation therapy.

Carol Hargreaves, Clinical Lead with HICSS, said “This programme is unlike anything we’ve done before as a service and we’re very excited to see the patients engaged in a creative, group therapy environment supported by world-class musicians. We’re very keen to evaluate the effects of the programme on patients’ physical, cognitive and psychological recovery, as well as the positive impact we hope it will have on carers and our clinical staff.”

Ruth Currie, Head of Community and Education for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra said “It is so important for the Orchestra to reach beyond the performance platform alone, into the heart of local communities where we perform. The Orchestra’s Resound programme ensures that people who may experience barriers to cultural participation can engage directly alongside our professional musicians, and experience first-hand the transformational and inspirational effects of music on their lives, wellbeing and rehabilitation goals.”

Councillor Terry Geraghty, Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure, said “This pioneering project is absolutely fantastic and I’m proud that we are a part of it. Recovery from any brain injury can be such a difficult process for many and I hope these workshops prove to be an effective rehabilitation. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the performance in October.”

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