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Music to lift the spirit

Music can be a very powerful thing. It can inspire, generate emotions, engage and lift a person’s spirit. It’s therapeutic.

For transitional and low-income residents and those dealing with mental health and disability issues, Catholic Healthcare’s Waterloo Wellness Centre, The Mercy Arms, offers a local solution to help people be an active part of the community in a safe and comfortable environment.

Among its programs is a weekly music therapy initiative, delivered by Blue Mountains musician Martijn Hadders, who has a long history of working with the disadvantaged people.

The music therapy program is part of a much larger series of offerings the Centre provides to the local community, including day trips, art and craft sessions, and shopping and cooking classes – which are open to anyone in need of assistance.

Program Coordinator Val Bryceland said that while many of those who participate are over 65, the Centre offers a range of programs for all ages, supporting Waterloo’s diverse community.

“Like all the things we do, participation is the key,” she said. “In the case of the music therapy program, visitors get very involved, with lots of hands-on interaction. Martijn brings extra instruments for them to play, so they can participate and feel like it’s about them.”

Current participants in the program come from an eclectic mix of local residents, from a variety of backgrounds, including Italians and Indigenous Australians, with Mr Hadders tailoring the songs to increase the chances of a sing along and participation.