Supporting the older generation

Funding level: Up to £1,000


‘I would define it as therapy - so if you’re down it lifts you up’ ‘This is my medicine’ ’It brought some memories back’ ‘It has been a lifeline’
Geoffrey (88) Beryl (94), Doris (90), April (88), Brenda (88), Herbie (94), Margaret (95) are just a few of the people who live alone in Pickering and come each week to the Musical Memories ‘Happy Hour’ singing session to meet with other people, have a cuppa and a chat, share a joke, reminisce and sing! Each week they leave us smiling and happy and telling us that attending these sessions really does improve their health and their quality of life.
Margaret attends our sessions each week – and even when we are on holiday Margaret has been known to turn up ready to sing! She walks every week to every session on her walking frame, through all kinds of weather and only if it is particularly icy will she relent and order a taxi. We gave Margaret a certificate for the best attendance ever - 37 out of 38 sessions - and when we had a short summer break Margaret said ‘What will I do without my singing?’.
Many of the people that attend our sessions have been bereaved – losing a partner of 50 years or more is a sadness that many of our beneficiaries have suffered. Singing songs that can link them back to their loved ones and to memories from the past can make people feel tearful but singing together can also be the most uplifting experience too.
The power of music is immense and recent studies have shown that singing together can improve lung function, lower blood pressure, boost levels of immunity and reduce stress; it can improve mood and memory and can be beneficial in the rehabilitation of stroke patients. Singing together at a Musical Memories ‘Happy Hour’ also encourages the growth of social connections and neighbourliness, all of which leads to a positive impact on overall health and well-being of participants.
We want to work with the older people of Pickering and help to keep them active, happy and living independently for as long as is possible because we know this saves valuable and limited resources in the medium and long term, and at the same time helps them feel more connected and valued in their own communities.
When all is said and done the Musical Memories Happy Hour project works at many levels to combat loneliness and isolation but above all it provides a fun and uplifting hour of happiness through song… and who doesn’t need a little happiness?

Musical Memories is a not for profit organisation set up to provide fun, social singing sessions for older people throughout the rural communities of Ryedale. We provide songbooks in large print for everyone to sing from and my husband and I play live music (piano and guitar) to accompany the singing. We have been delivering weekly ‘Happy Hour’ sessions in Pickering since October 2015 (without receiving funding from any source whatsoever) and numbers have grown from 13 people /week to over 36 people attending the ‘Happy Hour’ each week and over the course of this year between 76–100 people in the age range 60-95 have been helped by this initiative.
Over this last year our songbooks have become tea stained and worn and with growing numbers it is difficult to ensure that everyone has their own book. If we were to receive funding we could reprint our songbooks and order enough so that each person can be provided with one of their own without the need to share: we could carry on providing a fun, sociable singing session and giving little more happiness to the older people of Pickering.

Musical Memories

Location: North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

The Musical Memories ’Happy Hour’ project creates a reason to be out of the house and somewhere that is friendly, non-judgmental and kind. It creates the opportunity for older people to socialise, share experiences, memories and stories; the chance to sing together and the chance to ‘belong’.
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