Specsavers strikes a chord in Scotland with music therapy charity partnership

03/10/2023
Left to Right: Sandy Trappitt, deputy director of fundraising at Nordoff and Robbins, Callum Beattie, musician and Nordoff and Robbins charity ambassador, Laura Baird, Specsavers store director, and Frank Fennessey taking part in a Nordoff and Robbins music therapy session. Frank has been attending music therapy sessions since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

SPECSAVERS has named music therapy charity, Nordoff and Robbins, as its official charity partner for Scotland. 

The high street opticians and audiologists has made a £50,000 donation to bolster the charity’s services across Scotland. Their work has pioneered music therapy for the past 60 years, harnessing the power of music to help break through the barriers caused by life-limiting illness, disability and social isolation.

Laura Baird, a Specsavers store director, says: ‘Nordoff and Robbins helps people connect through their senses, which closely reflects the work we do at Specsavers. 

‘We are delighted to make this donation to the charity, knowing that it will directly help people all across Scotland who depend on music therapy to enhance their quality of life.’

Laura, along with Scots singer-songwriter and charity ambassador Callum Beattie, attended a music therapy session to learn first-hand how Specsavers’ donation will help Nordoff and Robbins support its Scottish clients.

The session took place at St. Andrews Hospice in Airdrie with Frank Fennessey who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013. Frank has enjoyed playing the bass guitar throughout his life and is able to continue doing so with support from a Nordoff and Robbins music therapist.

Callum, who released his second album ‘Vandals’ earlier this year, says: ‘Music helps me express emotions and thoughts that I sometimes find hard to put to words. Playing together with Frank during our session was so special. I could see his face light up and confidence soar.

‘Music is incredible for self-expression and allows people to connect, even when words fail. The donation from Specsavers will allow people like Frank to continue to benefit from music therapy sessions right across Scotland.’

Frank has been attending music therapy sessions for five years since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He says: ‘I bought my first bass guitar when I was 15-years-old, having been a huge rock and roll fan. I played in local bands my whole life. After I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s I didn’t play for a few years until I started my Nordoff and Robbins’ music therapy sessions at St. Andrews Hospice. 

‘My music therapist really takes her time with me, showing me how to adapt and play at a pace that I can manage. I’m back to playing every day and my music therapy sessions are something I look forward to every week.’

Sally Fennessey, Frank’s wife, is looking forward to celebrating 44 years of marriage this year. She says: ‘The music therapy sessions have made a huge difference to Frank. It gives him something to focus on and a chance to socialise with others. It’s also a huge confidence boost. I’ve never been so happy to hear him play Led Zeppelin in the spare room at home.’

Laura, who is the store director at Specsavers Wishaw, adds: ‘It’s great being able to see the joy music therapy is bringing to the people who need it in our local community, right here in North Lanarkshire.

Specsavers’ donation will support a range of endeavors, from the acquisition of new instruments, to the training of new music therapists, to better facilitate Nordoff and Robbins’ work with people throughout Scotland who use its services.

The charity’s work can be transformative for a wide range of people, from an adult with dementia reconnecting with family to a neurodivergent child expressing themselves through music. 

Sandy Trappitt, deputy director of fundraising at Nordoff and Robbins, says: ‘We are hugely appreciative for the charitable donation from Specsavers. The much-needed cash boost will positively impact our service offering across Scotland, helping ensure that everyone who could benefit from music therapy does.

‘Music therapy allows people to express themselves and share a connection and we hear daily from clients and families about the incredible benefits it provides. Music is a universal language which everyone deserves to enjoy.’

Specsavers’ optical and audiology expertise can be easily accessed throughout Scotland at its 80 locally-owned stores. Those unable to attend a Specsavers store unaccompanied can receive the same eye care at home via its Home Visits service. Specsavers Home Visits covers more than 90% of the UK.

For more information on Specsavers, please visit www.specsavers.co.uk

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