The University of Brighton enterprise programme beepurple recently gave away £10,000 of prizes to entrepreneurial graduates and one of our Occupational Therapy alumni Alice McGarvie received an award for the most entrepreneurial service.
Alice tells us more about the project here:
“I played the harp before doing my Health through Occupation MSc 2011 – 2013 and in my final year wrote my dissertation on my experience of mindfulness and flow while playing the harp. After graduation I’ve worked in NHS in mental health and learning disabilities while studying a two year programme to become certified as a therapeutic harp practitioner. Part of this practice is to play therapeutically for individuals improvising in a style and tone they like in a suitable tempo, which has been shown to reduce anxiety and heart rate. The money I won in the award will go towards buying harps for group playing and facilitators materials. I then plan to take these harps to nursing homes, where we could set up a harp orchestra and play at open days, I would also like to do the same for LD homes, but see scope for other client groups too. I would like to set up a social enterprise and see scope for neuro rehab to facilitate movement of gross and fine motor skills, and for people having dialysis and chemo, to provide a positive experience whilst having to go through that. There is a lot of scope within hospitals and hospices, and mental health and emotional difficulties.
As part of my course I have to do 80 placement hours within a health care facility, I am doing this within a nursing home and the response from staff, and clients has been fantastic. I can provide activity at the bedside for bed bound clients and hold the harp over the bed allowing them to play, which is interactive and empowering. Clients with dementia who appear ‘locked in’ have spoken and smiled during and after my sessions, an 105 year old lady with dementia has started to sing along to songs from her childhood and a frail man with dementia and hearing loss smiled and reached out to grab the harp to play it and seems to be very happy when he plays it and felt the vibrations in his hand. He smiles when he plays and beckons for the harp when he sees it. The manager at the home has indicated he will pay for this service when I graduate from my therapeutic harp course.
Through my training as an occupational therapist and harp therapy I am able to provide people with a positive interactive experience when I visit and this is what I want to pursue and do more of with my set of rainbow coloured harps”.
This is a really inspiring story and we wish Alice lots of luck in her future venture.
Channine Clarke 01273 643771 email@example.com
Tracy Szekely 01273 643947 T.firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Hadland 01273 643873 S.Hadland@brighton.ac.uk
Source: Occupational Therapy newsletter – July 2016
Channine Clarke, Principal Lecturer and Tracy Szekely, Senior Lecturer