Local stroke survivors, students and musicians from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra join forces

Local stroke survivors, students and musicians from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra join forces for the final public concert of STROKESTRA® at St Stephen’s Shopping Centre on Friday 15 December 2023.

Developed in Hull in 2014, STROKESTRA®, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s (RPO) groundbreaking stroke rehabilitation programme, will perform its final performance at 2:30pm on Friday.

Featuring local stroke survivors, family care-givers and nine world-class professional musicians from the RPO, the performance will include original music and song developed over four months of workshops and rehearsals. The performance is free, no tickets are required, and all are welcome.

Since 2014, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been supporting stroke survivors in the Hull and East Riding area through the STROKESTRA® music project. This innovative programme helps participants to take part in a range of musical activities – from listening to conducting, performing and composing music – specially designed to maximise social, emotional, cognitive, physical and communication benefits relevant to post-stroke needs. The programme also works with the University of Hull to offer training and practical experience for music students interested in community or therapeutic music.

A third-year University of Hull music student who wants to work in music therapy and is taking part in STROKESTRA®, said: “I have found music very therapeutic in my life and I want to share that with other people, so I decided to do my university work placement on a project that uses music to help people.

“Working with musicians from the RPO is an incredible opportunity. I feel like being a part of this will not only be enjoyable, it will give me lots of opportunities to learn and has the potential to open doors for me.”

Jim Harris, centre manager at St Stephen’s, said: “We share the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s passion for supporting the local community and we’re so impressed with the incredible work they’ve been doing through the STROKESTRA® project.

“We’re proud to host the final public concert at the centre and treat our visitors to a special performance from a host of talented musicians.” www.rpo.co.uk/strokestra

STROKESTRA® has gained a worldwide reputation for its innovative use of arts within healthcare.

Initially developed and delivered with clinicians from Hull & East Riding Community Stroke Services, now part of City Health Care Partnership, a service evaluation found:

• 86% of patients experienced relief of disability symptoms citing improved sleeping, reduced anxiety, fewer dizzy spells and reduced epilepsy symptoms;

• 91% experienced social benefits such as improved relationships and communication skills;

• 86% reported cognitive benefits, including increased concentration, attention and memory;

• 86% identified emotional benefits, citing increased confidence, morale and sense of self;

• 71% reported physical benefits, including walking, upper arm strength and stamina;

• All family carers reported an improvement in wellbeing, respite from their role as carer and improved relationships with their patient as a result of participating alongside them.

The programme was offered as part of clinical rehabilitation with the stroke team in Hull until the COVID-19 pandemic caused a hiatus from live delivery. STROKESTRA® returned to Hull this year, offering two four-month ‘terms’ of non-clinical community sessions to support stroke survivors and their families outside of the clinical rehabilitation pathway.

The programme is currently being evaluated by University of Hull researchers to ascertain the mechanisms that make the programme effective for participants. Results are expected in Spring 2024.

Visit www.rpo.co.uk/strokestra for more information.