Called Chorus Connections, the project involves a group of four-year-old children from Truro Nursery School visiting Mountford to sing and play instruments with the residents every Tuesday morning.
The sessions have been organised in partnership with Little Bird Music, an independent musical education provider, and Arts Well, a community interest company that champions the role of the arts and creativity in promoting health and wellbeing.
Mountford is a 36-bed nursing home for people with long term conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, dementia and those requiring palliative care.
Mountford manager Alison Rowe said: “Chorus Connections is brilliant. Our clients love it, our staff love it and our visitors love it. Everyone looks forward to the sessions every week.
“It brings such benefits to our residents. Some of our clients, who don’t normally participate in activities, get much more animated when the children come to visit and really get involved with the singing and playing the instruments.”
Chorus Connections is a pilot programme, and it is hoped that similar sessions can be arranged at other venues.
Alice Browning from Little Bird Music said: “I’m delighted to be leading such an exciting project in Cornwall. Chorus Connections aims to give all the opportunity to contribute, make meaningful connections and benefit from the joy of learning and making music together.
“Seeing the relationship between old and young is just wonderful. After just the first session, one resident at Mountford House told me ‘this is better than I could ever have imagined’. We’re all learning all the time, singing new songs – revisiting old songs, sometimes using hand percussion, exploring and sharing as we go – it’s a very exciting place to be. Our overall aim is very much to introduce and support Chorus Connections in more communities in Cornwall.”
Helen Adams, Headteacher at Truro Nursery School, said: “There’s a lot of research to support the benefits of intergenerational experiences and so far the outcomes are really positive.
“The nursery children are really engaged when they are there. They are naturally gentle and caring in their approach with the residents and enjoy sharing the music experiences. There is evident joy among the residents who are keen to take part and show increased engagement levels. And a number of parents and carers have told us how much the children are talking about their trips to Mountford House.
“We’re grateful to Alice from Little Bird Music and Jayne Howard from Arts Well who have been instrumental in seeking funding to get the project off the ground.”