Updated: Mar 17
At Maples we recognise that our staff all offer unique perspectives and experiences, our employees aren't simply Support Workers or Housing Officers or members of staff, they're musicians, footballers, artists, chefs. We encourage our staff to bring these abilities and interests to work to inspire, connect and enrich the interactions they have with each other and the people we support.
We are extremely fortunate to have an incredibly innovative, creative and compassionate team working within the Maples Community, who are willing and able to go above and beyond to support those around them to reach their full potential.
This week, we had the absolute pleasure of talking to Russel Freeman, Russell started at Maples as a support worker and has since developed his role to include his passion in life, music.
Tell me about your role “I hold one-to-one sessions for service users on music tutorial, this may be in the form of guitar lessons, music production skills, DJ sessions, and vocalist or MC work. I’m set up for all music production, we have DJ controllers, decks, midi-keyboards, analogue keyboards, guitars, and the mics are set up so we’re able to do digital music and record vocals. We encourage service users to bring any instruments that they want. There’s a big support element to my role as well, I really enjoy allowing service users to settle into the space and opening the session for clients to chat, it all depends on what the client brings to the session. For me, it’s all about creating a calm, safe and relaxed atmosphere for service users to come and be creative while building up their confidence and allowing them to get things off their chest at the same time.”
How do you feel that music and creativity in general can help with mental health?
“I think music, art, and creative activities, in general, are such a great way to express
yourself. There’s a feeling of catharsis when sharing your story and putting things into perspective, especially when you’re writing a song or lyrics, as you can look at it in a different light and get an element of distance.
There’s also the aspect of sharing your story and sharing what you’ve been working on with people, which can be hugely positive. This is not specific to my sessions, but having a project to work on in general, seeing it through from start to finish, and having something visual or physical at the end of it can have such a positive impact on mental health.” What have you enjoyed about your job at Maples?
“For a lot of staff at the Maples we enjoy making a difference in people’s lives, it’s more
With the service we provide and because of our client base, we get to build
relationships with clients in relaxed environments, whether that’s the studio, the flats, or shared houses. It’s still professional, but it’s very informal, and that gives a good space for building strong relationships.
Specifically for my role, I enjoy being able to share music, it’s my passion and it’s been a passion since I can remember. I love being able to tie it with my passion for care and support work. I see positive results all the time, whether that be service users finishing an album or recording tracks.”
What is something that you’re proud of? “I’m proud that I saw an opportunity for clients, myself, and for Maples to create this role. We already had the equipment and space for it, but it was not being used. I’m proud that I have helped create a space where someone can come and open up about experiences and past traumas and tell their story. The studio is a safe space week in and week out, familiar, comfortable, and relaxed. I think it’s good for clients and for Maples as a whole.”