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Celebrating Social Prescribing Day 2022

Case Study by Jane Staffieri Music and Well-being Practitioner for Music for Good on our Music for Well-being programme with St Austell Healthcare.

“When I do this, I’m not thinking about anything else, I’m not anxious at all” Participant

"Music is something that I never really had an interest in but I think it's because I was never doing music that I enjoyed, but here I can do whatever I want to do but I control it I could just like sing whatever I wanted to or play whatever I wanted to and stuff, if like I was angry then I could play angry, I feel like in school you can't do that and that's where I've done music before……so yea….changed my idea of music" Participant


This case study aims to give an account of the beginning stages of a pioneering and innovative Music for Well-being programme developed in partnership between an NHS Social Prescribing Team located in Wheal Northey Surgery in St. Austell Cornwall and the Cornish based charity Music for Good.

This Music and Well-being programme has been devised developed and delivered by Music for Good funded by Youth Music Fund B, Cornwall Music Education Hub and St. Austell Health Care.


Since 2016, Music for Good has built up a trusted and effective partnership with the Social Prescribing team developing and delivering our Singing for Health programmes with adults. This work continues to provide us with an informed understanding of the qualities, level of expertise and attributes we believe are required by organisations wishing to engage in Arts Health and Well-being work in partnership with Social Prescribers.

When we approached the Social Prescribing team to see if they wanted to be involved in our Music and Well-being Programme with children and young people, they were immediately receptive to the idea and had at the time just recruited their Young Persons Social Prescriber.

Social Prescribing - what is it?

“Social prescribing is a way of linking you to sources of non-clinical support in the community. Improving your lifestyle can be very challenging and you may feel daunted at the prospect of change and not sure where to start. Social prescribing can help to empower you and give you the confidence and support to make a change. There is a fantastic range of activities and organisations in the local community and social prescribing is all about linking you to these opportunities with the aim of improving your health and wellbeing”.

Identifying the Need

The need for this programme was identified during the Covid 19 Pandemic, our team of practitioners had previously been delivering our Music Mentoring programme in a range of educational settings with children living with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) right up to the first Lockdown. This was and still is a much sought after programme of work.

A disturbing picture was forming that there is a rise of children reporting feelings of distress and anxiety. This was echoed by teaching staff, parents and carers and it became clear to us that we could offer some tangible support through the provision of a Music and Well-being programme.

Our added value was that our practitioners are also certified Trauma Informed Practitioners. The Social Prescribing team are one of four educational settings taking part in this Music and Well-being Programme. The other three are a Special School, an AP Academy (PRU) and Cornwall’s only Adolescent Mental Health Unit (Sowenna).

The starting point

Following a series of planning meetings with the Lead of Social Prescribing and the Young Persons Social Prescriber, we explored what a programme like this could look like, how would children and young people parents and carers find out and access the service, where would it take place, what measures needed to be in place to share confidential information, what were the expectations and responsibilities of the partners. How the work and impacts would be monitored and evaluated and ideas for sharing learning and practice. The key points were captured in a Partnership Agreement and an induction checklist was the framework for supporting the setting up of the programme. This ensured that all contributors were clear about roles, expectations and processes.

What the programme looks like

Building on the learning and success and impact of our Music Mentoring model, we agreed on the following

Ø A partnership agreement has been drawn up between Music for Good and the Social Prescribing team St. Austell Health Care.

Ø Each child or young person would be eligible for a total of 10 sessions each up to 45 minutes. It was agreed by all that in the event of the child or young person needing more than the 10 sessions that this would be discretionary

Ø The Practitioners would hold an Honorary Contract with St. Austell Health Care for the duration of the programme thus enabling them to share confidential information and to adhere to policies and procedures i.e. Safeguarding, Confidentiality etc

Ø We have built in review dates into the diary

Ø There would be a referral process through the Young Persons Social Prescriber

Ø It was decided that the sessions would take place in Wheal Northey Surgery and a consultation room was booked to accommodate this.

Ø Clinical group supervision for our Practitioners

Our Music and Well-being programme started in September 2021 and is already yielding some positive results.

“It’s a thing that really settles him, I’ve even bought him a keyboard for Christmas because it helps calm him so much” Grandmother

“What an absolutely fabulous project this is” Parent

“When I do this, I’m not thinking about anything else, I’m not anxious at all” Participant

It’s so cool to come in to a doctors surgery and have a session like this for your kid instead of pills” Parent

“I’ve asked my teacher if I can drum when I feel like I’m getting wound up, she’s got a drum in her room now” Participant

“Can’t thank you enough, she loves it” Grandmother and other relative

The number of referrals are consistently growing so much so we have applied and have been successful in attracting further funding from Cornwall Music Education Hub to meet this growing need.

It is our intention to document the progress of this programme, we will share the challenges and findings we are noticing.

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