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Song Box

Song Box: "Friendship groups with a musical twist" - weekly sessions in the community for older people. Our professionally led sessions pick up on participants' interests and range through singing, music making, storytelling, dance, crafts, nature rambles and what ever catches their imagination. Held in interesting venues, with time to chat over tea and biscuits, Song Box is something to look forward to every week. Each group reflects it's venue and the interests of the people who attend. Everyone welcome.

29 January 2018
Yorkshire and Humber
Local Alliances:
York Dementia Action Alliance, Yorkshire & Humber Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists a number of outcomes that we are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Song Box is a new pilot project to investigate a self funding model of inclusive and creative friendship groups for older people, using shared music making as a particularly beneficial medium for positive physical and mental health outcomes, supporting social and emotional wellbeing especially for older people experiencing or at risk of isolation and loneliness. This includes people with dementias and their carers. The project is involving many other organisations in exploring: the need for more creative provision; best practice for specific groups; barriers to uptake; developing a sustainable model and building a partnership approach to delivery. This is feeding into national discussions through JRF, local service providers such as City of York Council and Yorkshire Housing, branches of national organisations including Age UK and Alzheimers Society and local community action teams such as Haxby Helpers.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Many barriers are being identified:

  • Cultural attitudes of some older people to “having fun” and to “having a social life” as you get older, “giving up” and low aspirations.
  • Cultural attitudes of some older people, and of some “gate keepers”, to paying for professional support to have a social life.
  • Loss of moral and motivation in the group most likely to benefit
  • Getting information to this group, and in a form they will be inspired to act upon.
  • Building partnerships with trusted intermediaries to act as temporary befrienders to support participants trying out a group and progressing to more self-reliant participation.

2. Actions

  • Overcoming the barriers

    3 months intensive effort to build partnerships with local community nurse, GP's and GP commissioner, established befriending services and transport providers to increase the number of participants in the pilot group to a self-sustaining level.

     Build case studies to evidence and promote the positive impacts of the Sliver Song Box model

  • Education

    For our team to attend Dementia Forwards Dementia Education session     

  • York Dementia Action Alliance

    To become a member of the Local Alliance. Support the Dementia Friendly communities initiative whenever I have the opportunity.