In June 2021, Shared Harmonies CIC received a grant from the Paul and Nick Harvey Fund for a programme of work which aimed to increase the diversity of our singing for dementia offer. We wanted to address the issue that many arts and dementia projects engage with “a narrow demographic” and that there is a need to move way beyond “war poetry and Vera Lynn” in artistic offers to different ethnic groups living with dementia. (Baring Foundation Creative Ageing Report). This project provided a unique opportunity for Shared Harmonies to start developing a new and carefully considered dementia offer that complemented existing work whilst addressing issues around ethnic representation.
Through interviews with people from professional organisations and networks, people living with dementia and their carers we have started to understand the barriers to access and engagement for people from different ethnic backgrounds and also the barriers to using music and singing as a support method from the perspective of existing dementia service providers.We are pleased to share our learning with others through the creation of The Song Book and The Practitioner Guide.
Shared Harmonies CIC launched ‘Our Song’ in April 2020 in response to the lockdown measures to help reduce feelings of isolation. Our aim was to create a sense of connection and community by engaging people in a creative project to produce a brand new song.
Through a series of creative interactions on social media, via email and with support from activity coordinators in residential care homes, the project inspired more than 300 people to share their thoughts around human, environmental and self-connection.The project engaged existing participants of Shared Harmonies CIC, many of whom live with long term health conditions, people from across the country and even a few from over seas! Our youngest contributor was aged 3 and the oldest 92! People shared ideas, images, photographs, artwork and lyrics to help compose the piece and recorded films of themselves singing it to create the video.
If you would like to receive the music scores and teach tracks to use Our Song with your community choir, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“I am so proud of this piece of work, of the Shared Harmonies team, of every single participant and of what we have created together. I would like to thank our contributory funders; Calderdale Community Foundation and Keighley Big Local and everyone who has donated to our fundraising campaign. I have been deeply moved by the feedback received, hearing from participants how vital it has been in keeping them positive during difficult times. I hope as new people hear the song, they hear their own thoughts and feelings reflected in the lyrics and they too feel a sense of connection.”
Emma Baylin, Shared Harmonies CIC Founder.
At Christmas 2020 we worked with our wonderful community to create a brand new festive song. Participants contributed lyrics, musical ideas, recordings of the song and photographs.
You can watch the video here:
If you would like to receive the music scores and teach tracks to use Merry Christmas Everyone with your community choir, please contact email@example.com
If you would like to support us in continuing to deliver projects like ‘Our Song’ please donate.
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