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Meet Peter Breen - Westfield Local Heroes 2021

Showing love through music

The Stairwell Project
Inspiring. Generous. Compassionate

Peter Breen brings comfort to thousands of seriously ill people through his hospital music initiative, The Stairwell Project.

Peter, a former radiographer, set up the innovative social enterprise to harness the healing power of music. Thanks to his vision, professional musicians are paid to play on hospital wards to bring comfort and joy to patients undergoing aggressive cancer treatments and those receiving palliative care. Families and hospital staff also find solace in the entertainment.

The music often helps soothe patients to sleep, and families sometimes ask the musicians to play at the bedside of their loved ones during their final hours.

Peter’s character and integrity convinced three major Brisbane hospitals to embrace the program, which includes harpists, double bassists, flautists, classical guitarists, keyboardists, hand-pan musicians and singers.

Peter’s greatest reward is receiving feedback that the music makes a positive difference to how people feel and the life-changing effect this has had on these professional musicians.

Thanks to Peter’s tireless efforts to secure grants, the program was able to keep going during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peter says being nominated as a Westfield Local Hero will motivate him to grow the musical program. “The recognition is enormously encouraging and means my idea has impacted more people than I realised,” he says.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.The Stairwell Project will use its funds to pay 13 musicians for two months and to promote the program.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here

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