Much of Wren’s recent work has been in developing projects and programmes to help adults in vulnerable or difficult circumstances, whether in the community or in residential settings.
There are many research studies that show the therapeutic value of music and group participation in music and song, and Wren’s work is a living testament of that value. We have seen our group members grow in confidence and become more outgoing and generally happier by taking part in shared group music-making.
Wren is always developing new ideas to help people with health conditions or who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances. An example currently under development is a ‘Respiratory Choir’ that will help people with breathing difficulties to improve through singing. Watch this space for details .....
Northam Lodge is a charity based in Bideford offering services to people with profound and multiple learning and physical disabilities. It aims to help people with disabilities achieve the best quality of life, choice and independence through the provision of the necessary care, support and development.
Wren first began working with Northam Lodge as part of a project funded by the Arts Council direct to Northam Lodge via a Grants for the Arts bid to promote music provision within the setting and to train Northam Lodge staff to use more music in their day-to-day activities. After a year of the project funding, Northam Lodge elected to continue the regular Wren Music sessions, now paid for directly by the setting. Wren undertakes music sessions every Thursday morning throughout the year with both the day clients and the residential service users. See video (on right) on Northam Lodge page ....
What Northam Lodge says about the Wren Music Sessions:
"The project has been brilliant; it has made a massive difference and we’ve had great feedback. We’ve seen such a change in people because they can now take part in music, it is inclusive. It’s just wonderful, seeing their confidence grow. And it has also increased the confidence of staff, to know that they are able to help our clients to make music.” Carron Holmes, Music Project Manager
“What Wren has brought to the project is their musical expertise. They have helped us to deliver a structured programme which has enabled people to develop skills, and this can often be difficult because of their cognitive abilities. Because of the professional training they are getting from Wren, Northam Lodge staff are able to deliver music sessions that are moving people forward. The groups have been really vibrant, consistently well-attended and with an enormous amount of energy. Because of Wren coming in, staff are then able to give lessons and clients are more keen to give it a go. This project fits in completely with an exciting, person-centred service. I’ve seen this energy, you can feel and hear it, and it’s made us think about how we deliver our services.” Charlie Dixon, Northam Lodge Chief Executive
Make Music, Make a Change
A programme targeted at vulnerable or excluded adults, including working in open settings, with targeted care/recovery groups and old people in residential homes.
Make Music with Wren
Wren has developed a programme of work for adults called Make Music with Wren. The local Creative Therapy Team identified the benefits of our Make Music groups:
Social networks: The group allows people who are struggling with their own feelings of self worth to have a level of social interaction which is not dependent on their ability to 'chat'.
Social capital: People are in the group often because they want to meet other people and have problems doing so, but regardless of cognitive ability, physical ability, nationality, age or any other differences, can interact through music on an equal basis.
Respect and positive attitudes: There is no stigma in taking part, people will be there to make music and have fun
Wren Music has been running weekly music-making workshops for adults on Tuesday mornings in Okehampton. The Make Music With Wren sessions were held at the Church Hall, and were made possible with funding from the Lloyds Foundation. The sessions have been specially designed to appeal to people of all abilities and all ages from sixteen upward and brought together people from all parts of Okehampton’s community; people who use mental-health services, the active retired, those on flexible work time, and people who just want to have fun!
The sessions were guided by professional musicians David Faulkner and Jon Dyer. Between them they have many years of experience leading community-based music projects across Devon and further afield. David Faulkner said “It’s was great fun. We did lots of playing, making bands, singing songs and we even had a go at writing new ones. A special treat for us was performing at the Baring-Gould Folk Weekend.”
Jon Dyer said, “Because people have been able to attend each week, they can choose the same instrument and improve, or can take the challenge of something different. People have become more confident and happy to work and share in a group. It helps them to extend their networks and make new friends.”
The Song Scrapbook combined reminiscence and memory with group singing and musical activities in a residential care home in Okehampton. It was delivered by Wren Music, funded by the Big Lottery, as part of their Awards for All funding stream, and we worked in partnership with Stonehaven Care Group, which runs the care home.
The project was designed to improve the quality of life for the residents, raise morale for staff and to illustrate the benefits of this type of project to others. Two music leaders worked on the project to engage the residents and staff of the homes, along with a fantastic pool of volunteers, both from Wren Music, and from Kent House, the home in which we worked.
The project progression was as follows:
The songs were recorded for the staff to use as accompaniment after the end of the project. The knowledge gained and resources created were shared as part of various training events, and the final PDFs and audio of the scrapbook is now made available on the Wren website – click here for the full Report.