“Please help support our voices in saying that activities work! Music is important!” – Activities Coordinator, MIC&C 2022.
On 29th September 2022 Live Music Now Cymru, in partnership with Age Cymru and Amgueddfa Cymru, hosted an event for activities coordinators and carers working in care homes, hospitals and day centres across Wales.
The event took place at St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff and was attended by over 100 people. The focus of the event was to acknowledge activity coordinators’ hard work, dedication and commitment, and to say a big thank you by offering them a fun-filled day complete with exclusive workforce development opportunities, access to resources and plenty of live music.
There were keynote presentations from Julie Morgan Deputy Minister for Social Services at Senedd Cymru and Helena Herklots, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales. Live performances were provided by Live Music Now Cymru musician Bethan Semmens, who led a rousing rendition of Calan Lan and shared her experiences of working in healthcare settings.
A training session from Live Music Now was facilitated by specialist Andrea Vogler, plus the Age Cymru and Amgueddfa Cymru teams delivered further training around creative activity ideas and reminiscence collections, respectively. NAPA (National Association for Providers of Activities for Older People) contributed a short film about their Arts In Care Homes programme and resources.
As part of the event we asked participants about musical provision in their care settings: to find out what they were doing already but also how we could help and support them to achieve more.
People told us that a wide range of creative and inventive music activities were already taking place. Feedback from the event also told us that:
- The support that delegates feel would be the most beneficial is a network for activities coordinators and activities ideas/planning resources.
- The key skill that delegates would like to develop most is the confidence to lead musical activities unassisted.
- One-off performances and residencies of 10-12 weeks are the most popular services Live Music Now offers.
- The majority of healthcare settings have less than £100 a month for activities.
- Almost half of healthcare settings are running 10+ activities a month with this limited budget.
- Lots of healthcare settings are running fundraisers to support regular activities.
- A reduction in staff turnover is a high priority for healthcare settings, followed closely by exposure to new creative activities for service users and improved agency and voice for service users.
These findings are critical because they align with the desired impact and outcomes of our Live Music in Care workforce development residencies, providing further evidence that this programme of work is needed.
In addition to this, confirming that budgets for activities are very limited, although unsurprising, is worrying. This research really highlights how the cost-of-living crisis and struggling healthcare system is impacting service users and the staff that care for them. Having the ability to provide fully-funded music and training programmes is more important than ever. To improve our funding success there is work to be done to evidence the social and economic return on investment that music interventions offer.
Moving forwards, Live Music Now Cymru will use this feedback to inform strategy development and funding applications. We will look specifically at increasing funding to deliver Live Music in Care residencies in as many care settings as possible, beginning with those that showed their support of the charity by attending our first Music and Culture in Care event, responding to the needs identified through that . In the mean-time, we aim to share as many free resources with activities coordinators as possible!
Sharon Ford, Amgueddfa Cymru said “It was a fabulous event to be part of, and everyone I spoke to was really positive and had a fab day.”