Music and Rural Isolation
Monday 30th April 2018
LMN provides regular music workshops in isolated communities throughout the UK (as well as hospitals, special schools and care homes). These programmes are designed to support people who might be affected by loneliness.
Loneliness is subjective, and can come and go. It can affect people living alone in rural isolation, or those surrounded by other people in big cities. We all feel lonely sometimes, but when this feeling persists over a long time it can become ‘chronic’. This can have serious health implications, and has been linked to mental health issues and the progress of dementia. A recent study found that 20% of older people in the UK feel lonely all the time.
Music events offer some unique and powerful ways to reach and support those affected by social isolation or loneliness. We previously wrote this article setting out some of the reasons for this in greater detail. Independent evaluations have shown that those who attend LMN's events feel uplifted and happier, and their families and carers often notice the effects lasting for many days afterwards.
During the past few years, LMN has continued to develop its work in this area, to reach even more people affected by loneliness. Our 'Songs and Scones' programme has been running in libraries and communitiy venues throughout the UK, and we are working in partnership with the Alzheimer's Society and the Mental Health Foundation to promote music sharing and participation as a highly impactful and cost-effective approach to this problem.
One recent example of our work for isoalted communities is taking place in Keady Clachan, in Northern Ireland. At a traditional stone cottage venue outside Limavady, LMN musicians regularly draw together people from the local community to share stories and songs. The video below shows traditional Irish LMN group 'Realta', and includes interviews with local people whose lives have been affected by the project.
This project was made possible by funding from the Dunbeg Community Benefit Fund/Community Foundation of Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Northern Ireland.