The Intergenerational Connections Project took place between April-Sept 2021 in the Mole Valley District of Surrey.
The project is made up of two parts: a free ‘Singing for social connection’ course at a village hall in Mickleham, Dorking, Surrey, for anyone to sign up to, with door to door transport provided free for all; and ‘Together with Music’ – an intergenerational music making project at Keswick Care Home, Bookham, between socially isolated residents and Year 6 children from Eastwick School next door, identified as being particularly badly affected by the pandemic.
Mole Valley District Council worked with NHS Surrey Heartlands, Surrey County Council, four GP surgery-based social prescribers, a team of young musicians at CIC IMM, six Primary Care Networks, a team of cheerful and willing community bus drivers, a young opera singer, a primary school, and an A&E hospital to make the intergenerational connections a reality. The project is significant as it took place over a significant period of time to facilitate meaningful relationships between participants. To give an example of the blossoming intergenerational connections that were made during: L (90yrs old) a keen singer as a young man, brought a sheet of music that had been written by his bandleader father, and sang, to the delight of all, but especially for 22 yr old M, who struggles with mental health & mobility issues, and had not been out except for hospital appointments for 2 months. The growth of the relationships between the generations involved proves that engaging in a shared creative experience with people different to ourselves engenders tolerance and acceptance of others, and therefore ourselves.
There is now a legacy of ongoing connections that weren’t there before and, as a result of the projects this year, NHS Surrey Downs Health & Care Partnership has secured funding for another 60 intergenerational projects around the whole of Surrey Downs, via the ‘Better Care Fund’. What started, therefore, as a small idea to help those in Mole Valley district is evolving into a county-wide, lasting legacy of music and social connection for some of the most neglected and isolated members of society.