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CHRIST CHURCH LAUNCHES NEW RESEARCH CENTRE IN FOLKESTONE PAVING THE WAY FOR SINGING ON PRESCRIPTION

25 February 2004

Physical exercise may keep the body in good condition, but singing and listening to music may bring important health benefits too.  This is just one possible outcome of research to be undertaken by new Arts and Health Research Centre launched today in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter.

The Sidney De Haan Research Centre, led by the University College’s Music Department and the Centre for Health Education and Research, has been funded by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, in association with Shepway Primary Care Trust.  The centre is an extension of research undertaken by Professor Grenville Hancox and Professor Stephen Clift into the  positive effects of music on health and well-being.  The project, the first of its kind in East Kent, is one of only four in the UK.  It is the first higher education venture to be carried out in Folkestone, Kent.

Canterbury Christ Church University College’s Head of Music, Professor Grenville Hancox, said: “Imagine the day when your GP says: ‘Go and have a sing with that lot down the road’ instead of ‘take these pills three times a day!”

The centre will oversee and develop existing music workshops for young children and their families from Folkestone’s Surestart wards and manage a variety of creative sessions, led by qualified practitioners, for older people and Alzheimer’s patients. 

The programmes will be run from premises in Church Street within Folkestone’s Creative Quarter and workshops, piloted by the University College, are already being held at community venues across the area.  The centre has been named after Roger De Haan’s late father, Sidney, founder of the renowned Saga organisation.  It will also be a base for PhD research and practice into the link between arts and health.

Roger De Haan said: “My father was diagnosed with vascular dementia towards the end of his life.  It was uplifting to see how much benefit he derived from attending the theatre and musical performances and how this seemed to act as a stimulus for him both at the time and often for days afterwards.  I am keen to promote research that could make such a difference to the quality of life of many people with conditions like my father’s.”

Local GP, Dr Sarah Montgomery, said: “Many of the health problems we see as doctors arise against a backdrop of social isolation, relationship breakdown and low self esteem.  Good medicine can be just as much about helping people to find meaning and purpose in their lives as it is about treating physical and psychological illness.  Drugs cannot address these important issues, but there is growing evidence arts can.  Shepway Primary Care Trust is delighted to be involved at the start of the life of the Sidney de Haan Research Centre and looks forward to working in partnership to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Shepway.”

THE LAUNCH OF THE SIDNEY DE HAAN CENTRE WILL TAKE PLACE AT 11am ON THURSDAY 26th FEBRUARY AT FOLKESTONE’S CREATIVE QUARTER.  THERE WILL BE A PHOTO CALL AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR INTERVIEWS.

Ends
NOTES TO EDITORS
Canterbury Christ Church University College has established itself as Kent and Medway’s predominant centre of higher education for the public services – especially schools, health and social care. The University College is also a significant provider of programmes in a wide range of academic and professional areas.

From a small independent College of less than five hundred students – all training to be school teachers – in the 1960s, we have grown to over 13,000 students and 1,000 staff members with campuses in Canterbury, Tunbridge Wells and Thanet.

As an outward looking University College and a Church of England foundation, our mission is to provide excellent academic and professional education underpinned by research, scholarship and creative work and by Christian principles and values.

Shepway Primary Care Trust - Primary Care Trusts are the cornerstone of the NHS, responsible for theplanning and securing of health services.  The main role of Shepway Primary Care Trust is to:

  • Improve the health of local people
  • Develop primary and community care by investing in local services
  • Purchase hospital and specialist care services and to ensure that they
    meet local needs.

The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust supports a wide variety of charitable initiatives, including the Creative Foundation in Folkestone, and a number of projects engaged in dementia care and research.

Contacts
Claire Robinson, Media Relations Officer,
cr54@cant.ac.uk, 01227 782391, 07949 385249

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