A Somerset-based project which supports older people with engaging music workshops has been shortlisted to receive additional funding from the People’s Project.
The ‘Memories with Music’ project, which is a collaboration with not-for-profit organisation Somerset Care
and Musica, received an initial grant from the Big Lottery fund in 2015 to support a six-month project. The ‘Memories with Music’ project has been invited to the final stages of the People’s Projects, where it stands to gain up to £50,000 worth of funding to progress the project further. This funding will support regular interactive workshops for residents and day care customers, and additional training for staff.
On Wednesday 22nd March at 6pm, a film based on the project will be broadcast on ITV’s regional evening news programme. In order to secure additional funding, the ‘Memories with Music’ project will need to obtain enough votes in their region, ITV West Country East. You can register to vote for this project at www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk on Monday 20th March from 9.00am. The voting period closes on 3rd April and both Somerset Care and Musica are looking to get as many votes as possible to allow them to progress the Memories with Music project further.
Speaking on the additional funding, project lead and Somerset Care Operations Manager, Sue Harvey said: “It would be absolutely wonderful to secure additional funding to continue our ‘Memories with Music’ project with Musica. The impact the workshops have on our residents is overwhelming and we would really like to offer this project up to older people living in the community. The additional funding would allow us to work with Musica to train our own staff in how to deliver the workshops, meaning that we can offer this on a regular basis alongside our varied activities programmes.”
Rosie Mead, Founder of Musica, explained the benefits that older people receive from their workshops: “There is a really strong link between music and personal memories; we know this from our own personal experiences. We may particularly remember songs associated with our teenage years, first love and holidays. Even for people living with severe dementia, music can bring back memories that may have been long forgotten. In our previous project with Somerset Care, we saw residents who normally found it difficult to communicate, but were able to sing songs from start to finish.”
The successful six-month project, which took place in 2015/16, involved over 400 residents in Somerset Care’s care homes. Each month, Musica held an interactive musical workshop which included; warm-ups, singing, reminiscence and live music. 100% of the participating care homes said that the residents enjoyed the workshops. The music had great benefits to the residents, including residents living with dementia, as it enhanced their communication, increased their mental wellbeing and elevated their mood. One of the participating homes witnessed a non-verbal resident who lives with dementia singing along to one of the songs in a workshop, something that brought tears to staff members’ eyes.
Photograph shows residents, Somerset Care staff and Musica employees.