Music therapy service opened to help disabled people

A new music therapy space has been set up in Stafford to enable disabled people to enjoy playing instruments in a purpose-built environment.

Elements Fitness and Wellbeing's owner Carl Class has opened a music therapy room
Elements Fitness and Wellbeing's owner Carl Class has opened a music therapy room

The room, opened by Elements Fitness and Wellbeing in the Guildhall Shopping Centre, is laden with an array of musical instruments together with amplifiers and microphones, offering visitors the opportunity to play and sing.

The facility is the brainchild of Carl Class, owner of the Elements Fitness and Wellbeing, who was inspired after seeing the positive effect that music has on people with dementia.

“I used to go into care homes and provide mobility sessions for dementia care,” said Carl, 55.

“I used to sing to the residents – it made me realise the value of music and singing and the happiness it brought.

“It cured me of depression.”

Carl opened Elements Fitness and Wellbeing in March last year – at the beginning of the pandemic – after buying the gym in the Guildhall Shopping Centre and spending £250,000 on its redevelopment.

For the personal trainer it is a real family affair. His girlfriend Sarah Bott, 29, owns Whose Next Barbers which is part of the centre, son Jed, 27, is general manager and daughter Maddison, 21, has trained to work at the barbers.

Carl said that upstairs there was a lot of wasted space and he used some of it to create the music room himself.

He then appealed for donations of musical instruments and the room now boasts drums, guitars, a violin, a saxophone and numerous others.

Carl contacted charities for young adults with learning disabilities and a group from the Enabling Activities organisation visits twice a week to play in the room.

Carl, who said that he is planning to open it up to the wider community, added: “The room is aimed primarily at people with physical and mental disabilities.

“We ask for a £5 donation to cover the cost of upkeep and to invest in furthering the facility.”

Carl, who is also planning to build a recording studio and a light sensory therapy room in the remaining space said the response to the music room has been “amazing”.

“You can see the difference it makes in the smiles of the young people who use it,” he said.

“But the room is empty 18 hours a day - we want to encourage people to come along and use it.”

For more details call 01785 212301 or email carlclass@hotmail.com.

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