Keeping people thriving through music during Covid
Improving wellbeing through music
Musical Connections aims to improve the health and wellbeing of older, isolated and vulnerable people through musical participation.
They usually run 10 weekly music groups/choirs and 50+ intergenerational activities annually. During the pandemic, they have delivered alternative support/activities for 200 beneficiaries.
An increased sense of purpose all round
In their first year virtually all members said that their involvement with Musical Connections had improved their wellbeing.
They said they felt happier/more positive, were more alert/active/confident, had an increased sense of purpose, greater contact with other people and something to look forward to.
People had made new friends and 92% said their health had improved.
Adrian has been involved in amateur dramatics since his teens, he and his wife met that way in 1965. He has been keen on music and performing ever since.
As he got older he found it difficult to memorise the scripts, so moved onto the next best thing – joining a choir. He and his wife were in the village choir for 12 years, but during the pandemic the choir was unable to continue its activities.
After that Adrian felt very lucky to find Musical Connections. He had heard about the community choir but also that it was over subscribed so was delighted when he was welcomed with open arms. And so began a regular, very enjoyable, Tuesday morning with a happy and enthusiastic group of singers and staff.
When Covid hit, the staff at Musical Connections came together to ‘save the minds, souls and voices of the choir’
“They make you feel good and alive with their bubbly ways. I just can’t praise them enough. They did everything they could to keep spirits up. I honestly believe that they have helped an enormous amount of people survive this horrific pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic regular emails with stories and photographs were sent almost every day. Abby’s Singstream happened every Wednesday with Emma’s Zoom singalong every other Friday. Their monthly Newsletter and compilation of team’s songs has kept us all entertained.
There is always someone at the end of a phone willing to help with your question.”
Needed like never before
The community involvement work done during this period provided vital resources and support to achieve these benefits.
Flourishing partnerships with local agencies and a growing presence in York meant that, by Spring 2020, they were being given increasing opportunities to share learning and expand their work into new areas/include new beneficiaries.
As they moved into the grant’s second year and the start of the pandemic, it was apparent that the community needed them like never before.
They focused everything on giving beneficiaries the support and musical engagement that they so greatly needed during their isolation.
They requested funding to be spent over 2 years, to support a new Community Involvement Officer role to take on the responsibilities to increase the number of volunteers working for the organisation, work on fundraising events, increase media exposure and improve community links in order to increase the number of beneficiaries.
This work is already being completed at some level, but the post will enable more time and work to be put into this, thereby creating a ‘step-change’.
People thrived off all the activities they were able to arrange. Musical Connections enabled them to :
- Feel more connected to their community
- Continue engaging with music
- Increase their social contact
- Feel less isolated
- Improve their wellbeing during the pandemic
Not just a choir, it's a family
“Musical Connections’ efforts during the pandemic have been amazing.
They are the only group which has been in touch regularly and the only one who has provided practical help, as well as continuation of activities online.
Musical Connections is not just a choir, it’s a family.”
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