Health and wellbeing

Funding level: Up to £1,000


Musical Connections holds weekly music sessions in care and community settings across York to help vulnerable and socially isolated people live happier, healthier lives. Most of our participants are older people experiencing loneliness, bereavement or physical/mental ill health, including dementia. They tell us that their weekly Musical Connections group makes an enormous difference to their lives, giving them an opportunity to make both music and friends - things that are otherwise often difficult for them.

One of these groups takes place at Glen Lodge sheltered housing scheme on Monday afternoons. The group was set up in 2014 for the benefit of the people living at the scheme, but before long, they were joined by a nearby group of adults with learning disabilities. These two sets of people have become firm friends, and the group is the highlight of the week for many of them, with over 30 people having attended since the beginning of this year. The group is also open to members of the wider local community.

Sessions often include personal favourites, and the group’s professional musician is adept at tailoring the work to the hugely varied needs, interests and abilities of participants. The group’s members love to learn new songs, dance, sing in harmony/foreign languages, compose, improvise and have a go at playing tuned instruments. Working together on these challenges promotes confidence, engagement and team-building, and has been very effective in enabling members to get to know and bond with each other.

In addition to the friendships that have sprung up within the group, its members enjoy a warm relationship with children from a local primary school who visit Glen Lodge several times a year to make music with the regulars. Musical Connections also stages additional events and concerts, many of which involve students from local secondary schools and York’s universities, enabling members to meet lots more people, make connections with the wider community/younger generations, and to give their own performances, showcasing otherwise unseen skills and talents.

Feedback from participants tells us that the group at Glen Lodge has a hugely positive impact on their lives. In questionnaires conducted with group members earlier this year, ALL of those interviewed said that taking part in our sessions and events:
- improves their self-confidence
- makes them more alert and active
- gives them a sense of purpose
- helps them connect with other people
- has helped them make new friends
- has improved their overall wellbeing.

Musical Connections aims to deliver three 12-week blocks of music sessions at Glen Lodge every year. An award of £1,000 from Aviva will enable us to:
- cover the cost of delivering one 12-week block of music sessions for the group
- provide free adapted transport for its members to attend additional intergenerational Musical Connections events in the wider community during this period.

The sessions will comprise a mix of:
• communal music and singing activities involving sheltered housing tenants, adults with learning disabilities and other members of the local community. Some of these sessions will also involve students from York's two universities.
• joint music-making sessions at Glen Lodge with children from local primary school, St Aelreds
• larger events in community venues such as concerts or ‘Big Sings’, where group members will perform alongside schoolchildren, university students and members of other Musical Connections groups.

Our members hope that people will vote to support their group because, in their own words:-

‘I look forward to Mondays - I forget about my age and just laugh’

‘It makes me feel better – I come out and forget about things’

‘It’s a lovely thing to get people of all ages together – it’s mentally stimulating – a healthy, happy atmosphere’

‘We have a lot of fun. It’s interactive and it's bringing communities together'

Project Video

Musical Connections

Moment of Pride

We are proud of the way Glen Lodge music group has brought so many members of the local community together - older people, adults with learning disabilities, local schoolchildren and university students - building warm relationships between people who might otherwise have never met each other.

Location: York