Students tune in to the needs of South Yorkshire hospice patients

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Two students are using their media skills to help Rotherham Hospice patients.

Twins Jonathan and James Macmillan are creating a relaxation CD which will help patients deal with worry and anxiety.

The 17-year-olds, from Rawmarsh, volunteered when the hospice’s senior occupational therapist Laura Smith turned to Thomas Rotherham College for help.

Explained Laura: “We run six-week relaxation courses at the hospice, which are very popular. They help inpatients and outpatients by showing them how to unwind, but for them to be successful it is really important patients continue the relaxation techniques at home.

“The hospice already had CDs for patients to take away, but we were desperately in need of an updated version and were looking for creative ways to do this.”

Steve Robson, Head of Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Media at TRC was delighted to get students involved in a ‘real world’ project and Laura turned recording artist for the CD.

She read out her calm-inducing voice-overs in the college’s professional studio and editing suite as the twins directed.

Then Jonathan and James, who are studying Media, Film and English, needed to find soothing music and sound.

Most recordings for the seven-track CD were created with computer software, but one track was made in Boston Castle woods. Jonathan headed there with sound equipment to record local birdsong.

He said: “Laura had explained how helpful the CD would be to patients, so we wanted the result to be perfect.

It was very interesting to do and it feels so good to know that we are doing something that helps people. It’s also opened our eyes to what important work the hospice does.”

Master copies of the new CD will be arriving later this month (June) and will enable the hospice to make copies whenever they need them.

“We are so very grateful to the college for giving us their time and access to their technical equipment,” said Laura. “The students were really creative and knowledgeable. They did a really professional job which saved us time and money.”

Patients can use the new CDs to work relaxation techniques into their daily routines and are particularly useful to them on days when they may be too ill to get to the hospice.

Steve Robson, head of TRC’s Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Media said: “We were delighted to help. The project took James and Jonathan three months and has been a very valuable experience.

“Making something that would really help people in their local community was very motivating. I am very proud of what they have achieved. Their commitment and professionalism has been outstanding.

“We hope this is the start of a lasting working relationship for the college and the hospice.”