The Amy Winehouse Foundation has awarded Haven House Children’s Hospice a new grant of £14,000 to extend its music therapy service to five days a week from September 2016.

The 'Amy Winehouse Foundation Music Room' at Haven House, which was funded by the foundation two years ago, will be able to provide a greater number of music therapy sessions as a result of the donation, funding a part-time therapist and increasing the hours of the Therapies Manager.

For children with life-limiting conditions, music therapy can help address their developmental needs, focusing on increasing communication, interaction and social skills and enhancing physical skills and promoting overall wellbeing.

Maxine Davies, a mother from Hainault in North East London, uses Haven House for her eight-year-old son, Kai. He has cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia. He cannot walk or mobilise independently and uses a wheelchair. Kai also has epilepsy and cortical visual impairment, meaning he is blind.

'We are so proud of him'

Music therapy helps Kai learn about the world around him and Maxine believes the benefits of his sessions with Haven House Therapies Manager Maeve Rigney cannot be underestimated.

Maxine says: I’m blown away with what Maeve has achieved for Kai with music therapy. To see his little face light up every time we go in the music room is absolutely amazing. Kai has done so much more through music therapy than I ever thought he could. We are so proud of him."

Since starting music therapy at Haven House in November 2014, Kai now shows greater interaction with the outside world thanks to his sessions with Maeve. Kai has developed an understanding that through music, he can have a positive effect on something and this is helping the development of a range of new skills.

He has learnt to sing along to the opening lines of his favourite ABC song and music is increasing his motivation to use his hands to play and explore, which was originally a huge challenge for him given his physical disability. 

National conference  

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of children’s hospices providing music therapy as the evidence base grows and the clinical benefits have become more widely established and recognised within the hospice sector.

Music therapists from across the country will be attending a conference by the British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT), the national body for the profession in the UK from 8-10 April in Glasgow. The conference will discuss the need to raise the profile of music therapy and ensure health commissioners are fully informed about the benefits.

Maeve, who will be presenting at the conference for Haven House, says: "Since establishing the music therapy service at Haven House in 2010, it has been a real pleasure to share the joy of music with so many children and to see the positive impact it can have on a child’s life.

"To have the support of the Amy Winehouse Foundation is truly wonderful and it enables us to reach more children through music therapy. Without this therapeutic input, some of these children’s voices may never be heard. We provide time for them to communicate.

'Music meant the world to Amy'

Mitch Winehouse, Trustee of the Amy Winehouse Foundation, says: "Music meant the world to Amy and to see what it can do for children at Haven House is truly inspiring.The Foundation is delighted that even more children will be able to benefit from the fantastic work of Maeve and her team."

Haven House first received a grant from the Amy Winehouse Foundation for a dedicated music room, which opened in its Holistic Care Centre, in November 2014.

Named the ‘Amy Winehouse Foundation Music Room’, the new space was opened by Amy's parents Mitch and Janis Winehouse. Eastenders actress and foundation patron Barbara Windsor also attended the launch along with children and parents from Haven House.

To find out more about music therapy at Haven House please click this link.