Making Bridges with Music
Torbay Community Development Trust states that about 6,000 older people within the area are socially isolated. The area also has many locations that are in the top 10% of deprivation nationally (IDACI 2015) and the younger and older groups are often socially segregated. A local authority childcare development worker decided to tackle these social problems through intergenerational connections, recruiting childminders and care home managers for this project through emails and visits.
The project brought together early years children (from six weeks to 4 yrs old) and older care home residents, who’s ages varied (approximately 70 yrs old and over). The two groups enjoyed 6 weekly sessions in 3 residential care homes facilitated by musicians and artists. In the workshops the children learnt older songs and the older people learnt about newer music. Through the sessions respect, friendships and knowledge were built. Twelve childminders participated in the project bringing 30 children and approximately 30 older people from care homes. The project was filmed throughout and research was undertaken to evaluate its benefit by Claudia Blandon, a researcher at Plymouth University Institute of Education.
Benefits for the Community
- The project reduced the residents isolation from the community as more people visited the care home.
- The project provided an opportunity for other professionals to come and observe intergenerational practice.
They then shared this with others which raised the profile of the importance of this type of project. The project was filmed throughout and this became a starting point for a live performance called ‘Going to Charlie’s House’. This was toured in a variety of venues in the community, including care homes, helped to give the community a better understanding of care homes and the importance of breaking down barriers and misconceptions that people may have about care homes.
Benefits for the Younger People
The intervention had a positive effect on young children.
- Overall Childminders reported that the children engaged in the sessions, spoke more and had developed strategies to connect with post-verbal people.
- They developed connections with residents, took more risks, learnt new music repertoire, learnt to collaborate with a unique team (old and young) and learnt about boundaries.
The intergenerational sessions provided a conduit for musical heritage, young children were exposed to old songs and nursery rhymes; likewise, the elderly population were exposed to new songs and games.
Benefits for the Older People
- The resident’s satisfaction and happiness increased.
- Personal case studies of residents evidenced the positive improvements in the residents social and emotional well-being.
- The intervention provided elderly people with opportunities to learn, be inspired, be physically active and be motivated.
- Care Home staff reported that interactive music and arts sessions were effective in increasing self-worth and wellbeing in the elderly offering the participants an opportunity to be active and engaged in the music-making process.
You can watch a film clip on Vimeo here.
The project was primarily funded by Awards For All with contributions from Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Devon Community Foundation, Doorstep Arts, Torbay Council, Torbay Childminders & the Care Homes involved. Currently the project is seeking more funding to continue.
The evaluation carried out by Claudia Bladon, researcher at Plymouth University evidenced that the resident’s satisfaction and happiness increased. Personal case studies of residents also evidenced the positive improvements in the residents social and emotional well-being. Making Bridges with Music provided elderly people with opportunities to learn, be inspired, be physically active and be motivated. They provided a sense of purpose and gave the space for support workers and residents to interact as equals. Care Home staff also reported that interactive music and arts sessions were effective in increasing self-worth and wellbeing in the elderly offering the participants an opportunity to be active and engaged in the music-making process.
Lorraine George, the Childcare Development Worker involved in developing this project recently received a Winston Churchill Fellowship to travel to the US to research intergenerational co-located care ie nurseries based in residential care homes. Torbay are supportive of delivering other intergenerational projects based on the benefits that intergenerational engagements bring.
Scottish Strategic Objectives
This project if run in Scotland would contribute to the following Scottish Strategic Objectives:
HEALTHIER – helping people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring better, local and faster access to health care.If this project was based in Scotland it would meet the healthier and fairer Scotland.
SMARTER – Expanding opportunities to succeed from nurture through to lifelong learning ensuring higher and more widely shared achievements.
SAFER and STRONGER – Helping local communities to flourish, becoming stronger, safer places to live and offering improved opportunities and a better quality of life.
This project would also contribute to the Scottish National Performance Framework (NPF).
We live longer, healthier lives: Securing longer healthier lives for the people of Scotland will always be a top priority for governments and individuals alike. There are significant challenges which can only be addressed by everyone in Scotland working together, pursuing this goal through improving lifestyles and life circumstances, and a shared ownership of an effective NHS.
Our people are able to maintain their independence as they get older and are able to access appropriate support when they need it.
Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens: To enable children, young people and (subsequently) adults to thrive from an early age, and make a positive contribution in the 21st century.