The Malton Musical Memories group gives older people a place to go each week, to have a cuppa, to connect, to sing and have fun!
My husband and I started Musical Memories a couple of years ago in order to provide fun, social singing sessions particularly suitable for older people. As a family we’d always liked singing and playing music together so when my Dad died and left me his huge collection of sheet music I just knew that it could be put to good use giving other people the chance to enjoy the ‘feel good’ factor that singing together brings. We had some large print songbooks made for everyone to sing from and practised all our favourite tunes and Musical Memories was born! Live music (piano and guitar) accompanies the singing at every session and the songs range from 1878 – 1980s and every style of song is included in the weekly repertoire from music hall to standard to show tune to pop song.
These regular, friendly sessions see local elderly ladies and gentlemen sharing memories and having a laugh together. Each session lasts 1.5 hours and includes a break for a cuppa and a biscuit or cake! The wonderful Musical Memories volunteers at the Milton Rooms in Malton (Judith, Diana, Jan and Anne) assist in every way by making people feel welcome, making refreshments and picking up local residents to bring them along to the sessions. Everybody has their own name badge and is personally known by the team; birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated with songs that are special to the ladies and gents and everyone feels a real sense of ‘belonging’ – combating the loneliness and isolation that is so damaging to the health and well-being of older people today.
Over half of the people who attend our sessions live on their own. Some attend with their carer and many also have quite significant mobility difficulties, but each week whatever the weather by 10.30 on Friday morning the doors open and the room starts to fill with the sound of chat and laughter and the songs begin. Over the past year more than 60 different people have attended these sessions and the age range of participants is 40 – 95. Many of the participants are widowed or single ladies and over this time many friendships have been formed – with little groups going off to the local supermarket for a lunch together afterwards.
Mary who brings her Mum along each week says ‘Musical Memories is Mum’s favourite thing in the whole week! If we miss a session, Mum gets really down. Mum has dementia and she struggles to remember things, but always remembers the words of the old songs.
The session also gives Mum the chance to talk to people other than me, she is accepted for who she is.
For me, I can be the daughter again and we can do something together. When I’m at Musical Memories I don’t have to think of something to do – everything is provided and I can really relax for a couple of hours.’
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
Some people depend on the existence of this group as it provides the only opportunity in the week for them to be out and about amongst other folk. We know that the impact of loneliness and isolation on older people can be life limiting and we know that coming along to our group can create a lifeline for people. We know that the impact this group has on the lives of its beneficiaries is enormous as we have taken verbal and written feedback from our beneficiaries and if we received this funding it would enable us to keep this group running for at least another year if not more. We would be able to promote it locally in a range of ways (at the surgery, posters, local free mags etc) and it would also help us to raise match funding which could then potentially keep the group going for far longer. In just over two years we have delivered over 44 uplifting and happy singing sessions and sung with 60 different people. We think we could do even better in the next two years if only we had the financial support.
"“We all live on our own and there are so few places to come during the day to meet other people, so we come to meet other people and enjoy ourselves.” Rita Campling - Participant"
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