Blue Light Symphony Orchestra (BLSO), the UK's only orchestra for all emergency services personnel, has been awarded £10,000 funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.
Covid-19 has given rise to an increase in mental health problems, not only in the general public, but also emergency service workers who are experiencing exceptionally increased levels of stress and anxiety.
First responders need access to timely and relevant intervention but for many, finding words to express and process their emotions is difficult and the funding will be used to provide music therapy to overcome mental health issues.
A feasibility pilot project, in partnership with Surrey Police and Sussex Police, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and East Sussex Fire and Rescue will be delivered by Chroma, the UK’s leading national provider of arts therapies services.
Research shows that music can significantly improve psychological health and wellbeing as it engages the neurochemical systems responsible for reward, motivation, pleasure, and stress. However, music therapy is not routinely offered to emergency workers as part of the support that enables them to deal with the traumatic events and situations they deal with each day.
Seb Valentine, a Detective Sergeant in the Surrey Police Safeguarding Investigation Unit based in Guildford and founder of the Blue Light Symphony Orchestra, said: “This funding is vital and will enable us to deliver ground breaking music therapy sessions initially in Surrey and Sussex. This project will provide 12 weeks of group music therapy, delivered by Chroma music therapists, to 24 police officers, firefighters and staff suffering from symptoms of PTSD, stress or anxiety.”
“This is the first step in developing the world’s first programme of music therapy designed specifically to reduce these symptoms in emergency workers.”
Daniel Thomas, joint managing director of Chroma said “We are delighted to be a part of this project, which could be the stepping-stone to providing consistent, effective therapy for all frontline staff. The work they do on a day-to-day basis is invaluable to society and in running this pilot scheme, we can begin to support them, long-term, as and when they require.”
In the summer, Blue Light Symphony Orchestra held a 999Run raising over £1,000 to further their aim of improving mental wellbeing in the emergency services through music.