Specialist support staff: Fresh Arts


Introducing Laura Tanner, the Charity-funded Music Manager

When local musician and teacher Laura Tanner was born prematurely, she was cared for at Southmead Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Now 39 years later, Laura – who trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and at the Royal Northern College of Music – is our very own Music Manager at our hospitals.

“I am a self-certified ‘NHS superfan.’ Over the years, the NHS has given so much to me and my family and I feel so lucky that I get to be part of it and work in a role where I can make patients’ stays more enjoyable. 

I am hugely passionate about music and the power it has to transform lives, and that’s no different for those in hospital. The music aspect of our Fresh Arts programme is so wide-ranging – in normal times, we have around 50 volunteer pianists who play the grand piano in the Atrium; our Live Music Programme sees new and emerging young artists perform at patients’ bedsides; our Play It Again trio visit Elgar House every Monday for our older and complex care patients. Donations to the Charity also provided percussion instruments so patients can play and sing along with the musicians.

The pandemic has been challenging, as it meant we couldn’t continue to provide a lot of the bedside and ward live music programmes, however, we’ve been able to create a suite of socially distanced programmes in the hospital’s Atrium and virtually for our staff and patients.

As we look towards returning to a post-pandemic environment in the hospitals, I’m excited to see how we can build on the great work already underway here at the hospitals. We’re becoming known as a Trust which values the power of music and arts in a healthcare setting and I want to develop this even further and be an advocate for the ability of music to help in the healing process.

I absolutely love my job and I am just so grateful to the amazing donors of Southmead Hospital Charity who have made this possible.”

“We should have this (music) every day, it would stop people thinking about how ill they are and would help them to be positive.”


Thank you for your support – it makes a huge difference to our patients, their families and our staff.

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