Intergenerational Connections Project. Photo Credit - Carmel Ring, NHS Surrey Downs CCP

Hearts for the Arts Shortlist 2022 – Intergenerational Connections Project

Mole Valley District Council's Intergenerational Connections Project has been shortlisted for Best Arts Project in the 2022 Hearts for the Arts Awards

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.

What the judges said:

“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!”