A new innovative music project, which connects the very young and very old, is now taking place across Torbay.

The ‘Making Bridges with Music’ project is using music as a way of bridging and connecting the age gap and is showing what the young and the old can learn from, and offer, each other.

This project, which is being delivered in partnership with Torbay Council’s Early Years Childcare Advisory Service, Torbay Childminders, local residential care homes and experienced community artists, is building on earlier successful projects undertaken by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Doorstep Arts artists in Torbay.

The project, which has received funds from the Big Lottery Awards for All, comprises of six weekly music sessions in three residential care homes - Pendennis in Paignton and The Warberries and Bethesda in Torquay. Childminders bring pre-school age children in on a weekly basis and together, old and young, they are creatively exploring, making music and arts. The children and the Care Home residents are then sharing their experiences over a communal lunch.

With the growing international awareness about the value of intergenerational learning and the benefits that it brings to both the old and the young, Torbay Council’s Early Years Advisory Team are planning to develop this type of learning opportunities in the Bay. The idea will be for childcare providers to visit residential care homes on a regular basis with young children to share simple activities with the residents. Both the residents and the young children benefit from being together and it can be seen how being in each other’s company improves well-being for all, including the care providers themselves.

To find out more about the benefits of this type of co-located care, Lorraine George, Childcare Development Worker for Torbay Council’s Early Years Advisory Service, will be travelling to Seattle, Oklahoma and Kansas in the United States to see how this has been implemented in care settings over there. Lorraine has been awarded a prestigious 2017 Travel Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to take part in this trip. The information Lorraine gathers will be shared both locally and nationally.

Councillor Julien Parrott, Executive Lead for Adults and Children, said: “This is a great partnership project that is bringing together two generations, and I congratulate Loraine on gaining the travel fellowship which will help us develop and improve this project for our young and old residents.”

There has recently been a growing international awareness about the value of this type of intergenerational learning and the amazing benefits that it brings to both the old and the young. Both the residents and the young children benefit from being together and you can see how being in each other’s company has improved well-being for all, including the care providers themselves.”

Linda Prain, Manager at Bethesda Care Home, said: “I am thrilled with the impact that engaging in this project is having upon our residents. After just one session you can see how much our residents are getting out of spending time with the children. One of our elderly and disabled residents loves her time with the children and even goes outside to watch the children play. She is practically blind and deaf and most of the time she sits with her head in her hands, but she loves it when children come in. You can really see how more cheerful she is when the children come in.”

Girl cuddling female resident

Girl cuddling female resident

Male Care Home Resident and Boy

Male Care Home Resident and Boy


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