Older people in a North East Lincolnshire town are benefiting from a series of music concerts thanks to funding from Tesco Bags of Help.
Around 40 older people turned out to the first session in a packed St Mary’s Church Hall to hear a jazz trio perform a mixture of familiar and original music. They’re set to hear some varied tunes in coming months with a folk rock group booked for June and a harpist to perform in September.
The music sessions are part of an initiative called 'Songs and Scones' that has been developed by the charity Live Music Now. It aims to provide a regular musical event that brings older people together, reducing isolation and loneliness.
Deborah Welch, Assistant Director of Live Music Now, explains:
It’s a participatory performance. It’s about joining in, not just listening. People might get invited to clap along, sing along… or even get up and dance!
While tea and cake was served after the performance, the musicians mingled with the audience, talking about their music, instruments and finding out what people liked best. It’s hoped that the attendees meet and get to know new people living locally and share tea, cake and conversation – and their love of music!
People have been really positive. There is a buzz in Barton-Upon-Humber about Songs and Scones – that this is a great event to come to. It allows local residents to come and meet others – then hopefully they’ll meet them again next time. It encourages people out of their homes, gives them a chance to make new friends and meet some old ones.
Older people often face a range of challenges including isolation, loneliness, lack of mobility, lack of support networks, deterioration of health, low confidence and mood or mental health problems. These issues can be especially acute in rural areas. The 'Songs and Scones' scheme aims to build those new friendships that can be crucial in later life.
For some older people there may be additional benefits too, explains Deborah:
The sessions may be especially supportive for people living with dementia – music can trigger certain reactions – helping to evoke past memories.
The musicians are members of the Live Music Now scheme http://www.livemusicnow.org.uk/.
The charity trains early-career musicians, supporting them to develop the vital skills required to perform with confidence and sensitivity in a range of community settings. They are paid for their performances and gain valuable experience.
Some of the sessions funded by Tesco will also take place within local care homes, reaching those older people that may not be mobile and able to access community events.
Click here to read more Tesco Bags of Help success stories.