We are excited to announce the launch of a very ambitious new initative, led by Live Music Now, funded by the Baring Foundation. Our musicians currently work in hundreds of care homes around the UK, but there are so many thousands more we do not reach where residents never experience the performing arts, or participate in group activities themselves. So we are going to find the best and most practical ways for music and singing to feature regularly in care homes right across the whole country.
This is something that no single organisation could ever consider doing alone; so we have formed a ‘working group’ with 26 other leading national organisations (listed below), who represent both the care sector and the arts sector. Working in close partnership with us to steer the project are Sound Sense (the UK professional association for community music) and the Sidney De Haan Research Centre (who provide cutting edge research on the medical impacts of singing).
Over the course of the coming year, these national organisations will meet regularly to share knowledge, understand what works, undertake research and consultation, and actively create the conditions to make every care home a singing home!
Singing can lift spirits, but it can also do so much more. There is now hard evidence to show that music participation can help those living with dementia to engage and remember; and more generally, alleviate the effects of breathing diseases; reduce stress and anxiety; and build relationships between residents, carers and staff. We want to find the best ways to bring these benefits to older people, and support care homes to take part, on an ambitious scale.
Together, we hope to improve the quality of life for people in care homes, and help create happy environments for carers, family and care home staff. This is urgently needed as 70% of the growing numbers of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems (according to the Alzheimer’s Society). Effective and cost-effective solutions must be found.
To find out more, please visit the project’s new website here: www.achoirineverycarehome.co.uk
“The Baring Foundation has been funding in the field of arts and older people for the last five years. We believe that singing has a unique magic not only for older residents but for the whole community of a care home. This broad consortium is a great basis for a project which we hope will bring that magic to thousands of people.” – David Cutler, The Baring Foundation
“This hugely important initiative will bring music to people who might be living the final years of their lives in loneliness or confusion. I have seen countless times that there is nothing like music to bring people together to create a safe and happy environment where human relationships can flourish.” – Julian Lloyd Webber, LMN Ambassador
These are the 27 organisations taking part:
Live Music Now, Sound Sense, 'Sing for Your Life', Voluntary Arts, Making Music, Superact, Tenovus Choirs, Natural Voice Practitioners Network, Sing Up, Creative and Cultural Skills, Welsh National Opera: Forget Me Not Chorus, Mindsong – Music for Dementia.
National Care Forum, Skills for Care, Age UK, Orders of St John Care Home Trust, Abbeyfield, My Home Life (including its Friends and Neighbours project, bringing community life into Essex care homes), Age of Creativity, MHA.
Royal Society for Public Health, Mental Health Foundation, National Alliance for Arts Health and Wellbeing, 'Creative and Credible', Arts and Health South West, South East Arts and Health Partnership, the Sidney De Haan Research Centre.