So what do volunteers get up to with Music In Our Bones?
Music In Our Bones work was supported by a staggering 902 hours of volunteer support in 2019 from 57 volunteers. The charity owes a huge debt of gratitude to all those who have shared their time, enthusiasm, skills, life experience and importantly voices and spirits with us!
Our regular volunteers increased from 21 to 26, and an amazing 31 additional individuals joined our 19 outreach sessions in 2019.
Many of our outreach sessions have attracted more than 6 singing volunteers and in fact in a dementia day care centre in Stowmarket, Songlines singing volunteers heavily outnumbered the club’s members!
Our outreach sings have continued to offer highly participatory life loving experiences for groups of vulnerable people whose lives often lack such opportunities. Watching agitated or withdrawn older people with dementia suddenly transformed by the party atmosphere we bring with us is a joy. We have discovered both keen conductors and dancers in our music making.
Our volunteers have all spoken of the buzz such sessions offer them as their input is so evidently valued, enriching all we offer, turning ‘music sessions’ into singing parties.
Training using the experience and understanding of our singers
In 2019 we offered Dementia Awareness Training to Songlines, HeartSong and Lifting Spirits volunteers. This was facilitated by Louise Burrows and included a couple managing life with dementia, this co-production of training being an invaluable use of our singers’ experience.
We were supported by a trainer from the Stroke Association to run a co-produced stroke training session, stroke survivors sharing their experiences of what is and is not useful from others with volunteers from across our groups.
And a Refugee Awareness training session was offered to interested Lifting Spirits volunteers by the Suffolk Refugee Support Service.
Issues and ideas for future training from our singers are always warmly welcomed.