£100,000 grant to link young and old through music

A WOKING-BASED project to link every care home and school in Britain through music has been given a £100,000 grant.

Together with Music received the money from the UnLtd foundation for social entrepreneurs with support from Comic Relief.

GENERATION GAME – Together with Music will bring children and care home residents together, initially online and face-to-face when that becomes possible

The grant is one of 124 with £4.7million going to various projects across Britain.

Together with Music is a partnership between Care England and Intergenerational Music Making (IMM), which is run by Horsell resident Charlotte Miller.

Charlotte told the News & Mail that the money has meant that 12 connectors have been employed across the country to link schools and youth groups with care homes and set up a website.

The project was launched last month and the grant means that the work can start in earnest.

It is a national extension of IMM, which has been running for about two years, mostly in Surrey.

It grew out of Charlotte’s experience of trying to communicate with her grandmother who had dementia.

Charlotte studied the flute and piano at Trinity College of Music and the Juilliard School, New York, before gaining a master’s degree in music therapy and working in the NHS and in education.

Her grandmother, who was known as See-See, lived at Moorlands Nursing Home in Lightwater and found communication difficult.

POWER OF MUSIC – Charlotte Miller performing at a pre-pandemic concert in the Electric Theatre, Guildford, with the residents from Coxhill Manor

Charlotte, who grew up in West Byfleet, found that the best way to engage with See-See was through music.

After she had her two children, she stopped working as a music therapist and set up IMM to link people in care homes, especially those with dementia, with young people through a love of music.

The residents and young people choose their favourite songs and share them with each other.

Before the pandemic, the links involved children visiting care homes but the work has continued during coronavirus through Zoom and other online platforms.

IMM involves dozens of links and Together with Music is able to engage with more than 30,000 elderly people who are looked after in care facilities or their own homes by Barchester Healthcare and MHA, the UK’s largest charity care provider.

Charlotte said the coronavirus restrictions have increased isolation and so the work to connect care home residents and young people is needed more than ever.

She is hoping to set up hubs in Woking and Guildford when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted so there are venues where young and old can meet.

In 2019 IMM ran concerts and music sessions at the Electric Theatre in Guildford.

“It would be good to have a hub such as the Electric and one in the centre of Woking,” Charlotte said.

In the meantime, any school, youth group or care home is welcome to get in contact with Together with Music to join the project.

For more information, visit www.togetherwithmusic.org.uk

 or search for @IntergenTwM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @IntergenTwM. Visit www.imm-music.com.

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