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.
I particularly love projects like this that bring generations together. It is widely known that care settings really suffered as a result of the pandemic and this project sounds completely joyful for all concerned. Empathy between young children and older people makes the world a much happier place!"
Lovely connection made between the elderly and children in a thoughtful and targeted project, bringing music and singing as part of meaningful interactions between groups who have suffered from pandemic isolation. It is great that these projects are leading to longer term and further partnerships between care providers."
I absolutely loved the focus on forging friendships in this project, especially as so much of it was intergenerational. The emphasis on volunteering too really impressed me as it displayed an understanding it’s the volunteers themselves who benefit as much as the folk they are lending a hand to."
I confess that reading about The Intergenerational Connections Project made me cry. Loneliness is something that we all encountered in some way over lockdown, and I think it’s probably the first time many of us have been able to properly understand what it must be like for the elderly in times of isolation. It’s wonderful to see the Intergenerational Connections Project using music to find common ground between young and old and help establish what will hopefully become lasting relationships. It’s testament to the success of the project that funding has been secured for 60 other projects in Surrey, and I look forward to following their progress."
Oh my goodness, I encourage all to watch the online videos about the Intergenerational Connections Project – they are heart-warming to watch. This initiative must have made so much difference to both ends of the age spectrum during the pandemic and, crucially, everyone could join in, with music bringing them together."
I love that the Intergenerational Project has steam rolled into something more lasting just out of sheer need and joy. How incredible that a gesture acquires its own power and replicates itself."
This is a simple, beautiful idea that helps with a real problem: the huge increase in social isolation during the pandemic. Both sides clearly got so much out of the project, finding strength and connection that perhaps they didn't know they had. I'm really pleased that the idea has gone viral; unlike some viruses we could name, I want it to spread everywhere."
It is lovely to hear of a project which has so positively impacted a group of people who are most in need of a lift in your community. A beautiful project allowing some to discover their voice and forge new relationships, to the benefit of all involved"
We really love this project. It shows the power of social prescription, and all involved have clearly worked above and beyond to make it the success it has been. Congratulations on achieving funding for future projects, and wishing you all the best with those - can’t wait to hear about them!"