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Red Rose Recovery started the music therapy group called “Therapy through Music” in October, and received funding in November to purchase new equipment for our group sessions and ensemble workshops. Therapy through Music is a charity based in Lancashire that aims to help people improve their mental health and wellbeing using music as a medium.

Our program is unique in that we offer it to disadvantaged multi-complex individuals, in both group discussion and group ensemble settings, whereas most music therapy charities in the UK focus on working in hospital settings with children and older people. Music therapy is the most underfunded branch of clinical psychology, but industry predictions say it’s about to go massive, with the NHS recently announcing they are going to be putting £30m into music therapy.

Terry, our Music Therapy Lead, had this to say…

I currently deliver music ensemble and music therapy sessions throughout Lancashire, usually on weekends, using asset-based community development with the charity “Therapy through Music”. We decided to start an initial music therapy group in October as we could see the potential positive effects that music therapy can have on people’s everyday lives. We initially advertised for service users to attend weekly sessions exploring music and wellbeing techniques, which quickly evolved into a weekly live music ensemble workshop with five beneficiaries attending each week. This built up to our first-ever gig at the 10th-anniversary bash, and the music program has gone from strength to strength since then.

The band members performed a second gig at February’s central LUF event and were a hit. They played classic hits from the last fifty years and performed for 45 minutes. They are now continuing to rehearse weekly at Red Rose and have been offered lots more gigs in the near future. They have been offered a chance to perform at a recovery-themed talent show in Manchester in two weeks, as well as various future LUF events.

The next phase of the program will be to start our second weekly session as ten more beneficiaries are hoping to partake in the sessions with a view to joining a band down the line. We are also going to start exploring song writing and recording and collaborating with each other to work on a group writing project. Our aims for the next 12 months are to grow the group sessions to 20 weekly attending beneficiaries and form three more bands. We hope that after 12 months, we can all collaborate to write our very own song based on recovery and then record and release it to raise awareness. This would be similar to Band Aid but focused on recovery. We feel it would help raise the issue of addiction and recovery and show people how creating structure and being part of a supportive peer group can have a massive positive effect on their everyday lives.

As mentioned earlier, the plan for the Red Rose music therapy group is to build up the number of bands while also duplicating the weekly sessions in our east and north locations. I am currently working out the best logistics to do this and will soon start liaising with the respective team leaders. Our 12-month plan, though ambitious, is to get multiple ensemble sessions up and running throughout Lancashire, with each location providing a few groups that will all be able to perform at events such as LUF. We dream of perhaps putting on a free music festival in the near future, showcasing all of the bands and also working together to create an original song around the theme of recovery. We will then record and film it as a massive group to create a Live Aid-style song and video that we can use to raise awareness of the recovery community.

The Red Rose Recovery music program is entirely free, and any help you can give in supporting it would be really appreciated.