News and Updates

18 December

“It is very rewarding to hear our residents talking about the sessions together, and the elements they enjoyed. In particular, these sessions enable individuals who have recently joined the homes to have a purpose and a voice, and decrease their isolation, which is difficult to achieve using traditional approaches.” – Victoria Elliot, Principal Care Consultant at The Orders of St John Care Home Trust.

The above quote is taken from a new blog post about ‘A Choir in Every Care Home’ for ‘Bright Copper Kettles’, written by Hannah Dawkins. Read the full piece here.


9 December

We were delighted to learn that the research review carried out by Professor Stephen Clift and Dr Trish Vella-Burrows for ‘A Choir in Every Care Home’ will be published shortly in an important new book entitled ‘Music, Health and Wellbeing: Exploring Music for Health Equity and Social Justice‘. Further details here.


27 November

Åsa Malmsten (Director of Sound Sense), attended the Music Education Council Seminar in London, where she presented ‘A Choir in Every Care Home’ as an example of Life Long Learning taking place in the UK. This was followed by a panel discussion.


20 November

Expert Seminar on Music and Dementia organised by Creative Dementia Arts Network and MHA- Wellcome Trust London

The event focused on a range of projects and studies revealing the neurological, physical, emotional and social benefits of music activities  for people living with dementias.
Douglas Noble attended  to speak about A Choir in Every Care Home. He led a breakout session in which presented the tools and resources on the website, the evidence review, the link to the CQC KLOEs Quality Assessment, and led a discussion on the need to, and value in, working closely with the adult social care sector, engaging with providers at a strategic level, as well as the front-line staff who work in the care settings.
There were a range of other present presentations, including from Helen Odell-Miller and Jorge Fachner of the Anglia Ruskin University on music in dementia research practice and professional education, from Julian West on the Created Out of Mind research programme at the Welcome Trust and from Ming Hung Hsu of MHA on music therapy and dementia.
Douglas also took part in a panel discussion chaired by Alex Coulter of Arts and Health South West and involving the other presenters from the day as well as Dr Claire  Garabedian of the University of Worcester


16 November

We were delighted to be featured in an article by the Baring Foundation’s Harriet Lowe entitled “What a Difference a Song Makes”. She had visited one of our sessions on Monday this week.


15 November

Our new tutorial videos are completed and online, led by tenor and LMN tutor John Bacon. Please visit the new page on Singing Tips for Care Staff.


14 November

Evan Dawson met with Bev Foster from Canadian organisation Room 217, who are delivering a range of training programmes for care staff in Canada. There is much potential for collaboration.


8 November

We met with LMN tutor and baritone John Bacon, to record a series of tutorial for care workers, showing how to plan and lead singing sessions for older people from scratch. These will be available on the website soon!


6 November

The project was featured by :Choraly and Music Education UK, in their article about choirs that tackle health and social need. Read the article here.


20 October

Sadly, we didn’t win the award last night, but it was nevertheless a great endorsement of the project to be shortlisted. The Arts & Health award was won by UCL and Canterbury Christchurch University for their fabulous ‘Museums on Prescription’ project. More info here.


19 October

The RSPH awards will be announced at a ceremony this evening. ‘A Choir in Every Care Home’ has been shortlisted for the ‘arts and health’ award, though it faces tough competition from two excellent projects. It is a great accolade to have been shortlisted at all. We will update this page after the announcement has been made…

RSPH logo


18 October

Evan Dawson is meeting with Angela Cullmore-Todd, Head of Care Services at The Royal British Legion, to discuss potential collaborations. We are thrilled that they have just awarded us a grant to help develop much of the evaluation work, being led by the University of Winchester.


12 October

We were delighted to support the public launch of the APPG on Arts, Health and Wellbeing’s new report ‘Creative Health’ at King’s College, London. The presentations were led by Lord Howarth of Newport, Darren Henley (Arts Council England), Shirley Cramer (RSPH) and Ed Vaizey MP. We provided a recorder trio for the event, and were delighted by references made to the project by several of the speakers.



12 October

Working together with the University of Winchester, MHA, the Orders of St John Care Homes Trust and others, we are introducing music into six care homes over the coming months, using a new approach. LMN musicians will work together with staff members to provide regular music for residents over several months, supporting those staff members to continue using music after our involvement finishes. The first session took place in Bath today, and the initial feedback was very positive. The data gathered will be analysed by researchers at the University of Winchester, using the evaluation framework developed on 15 June (see below).


12 October

Evan Dawson met with Duncan Selbie, CEO of Public Health England. He confirmed that PHE is happy to support the initiative, and we have added them to the list of supporting organisations. Over the coming months, we will explore how we might work together more practically.


11 October

Ed Vaisey MP led a debate on arts, health and wellbeing at Westminster Hall, in the Houses of Parliament. His introductory comments included references to ‘A Choir in Every Care Home’, which he described as “brilliant”.



10 October

Evan Dawson presented the project, including the evidence base and toolkits, to the Commission on Dementia and Music at the House of Lords, run by the International Longevity Centre, together with the Utley Foundation. The Commission is Chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross.


Art of Wellbeing.jpg

4 October

The project was featured in ‘The House’ magazine, the magazine for MPs and Peers at the Houses of Parliament, written by Ed Vaizey MPDownload the article here. We are very grateful indeed to him for his support.





2 October

In the past week, since the re-launch, we’ve had over 2,000 new visitors to the website. We’ve been delighted by the positive responses to the toolkits and videos, as well as descriptions of how people have been inspired to start using music in their care homes. Thank you for your support!


27 September

As part of the next phase of work, Douglas Noble and John Bacon led a training session for musicians at the Colston Hall in Bristol. We are very grateful to the Bristol Music Trust for allowing us to use the space. The focus of the session was teaching musicians to train and support care workers to use music in their own daily practice.


20 September

Douglas Noble presented the redesigned website and all the new materials to the Best Practice in Care conference in Bristol, whilst Evan Dawson presented it to the Campaign to End Loneliness event in London. Throughout the day, our wonderful partner organisations and friends throughout the care and arts sectors have been tweeting and sending messages to their own contacts. We’ve received a huge amount of positive feedback. It’s been tremendous. We will keep adding resources to the website, so please do keep in touch, and keep spreading the word. It is estimated that 95% of the UK’s 21,000 care homes have no meaningful arts activities taking place, so let’s all do our best to inspire and support them to change this!

18 September

We’re getting ready for the big re-launch of the project in a couple of days. If you’re able to help us, please download the press release here. We’d like to spread the word far and wide!!

6 September


Evan Dawson presented A Choir in Every Care Home at the “Imagine: Arts & Health for Older People” conference in Nottingham, organised by City Arts and Nottingham City Council, supported by the Baring Foundation.


30 August

Nina Swann led a workshop for the managers and activity co-ordinators from the Royal British Legion care homes to discuss the role of music for residents, and to consider their feedback on the latest updates to the A Choir in Every Care Home website.


30 August

The Chair of Winchester University’s Ethics Committee has confirmed that our research proposal has been given full and final approval to proceed. Over the coming 6 months, we will be introducing music programmes to six care homes, including staff training and support, and carefully evaluating the impact, as we discussed on 15 June (see below).


20 July

The formal application for ethics approval, for the next stage of our project delivery work, has been submitted to Winchester University, building on the work done with our care home partners last month to refine the evaluation framework. We hope this work will be able to start during the Autumn.


19 July


The All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing launched the results of its two year inquiry into the impact of arts and health in the UK. The report cites ‘A Choir in Every Care Home’ several times, including extracts from the evidence review by Professor Stephen Clift. Details here. We attended the launch event at the Houses of Parliament, alongside ministers including Ed Vaisey MP, Sarah Wollaston MP as well as John Glenn MP. The initiative was led by Lord Howarth of Newport.





12 July


Douglas Noble addressed the launch event of the Care Quality Commission’s new commitment entitled “Quality Matters”. He demonstrated the ‘Choir in Every Care Home’ website to the invited delegates, which included government ministers. With LMN musician Guillermo Rozenthuler, we helped conclude the whole event in song!








4 July

Evan Dawson met with Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of the Care Quality Commission, to record an interview with her about the CQC’s approach to encouraging care homes to embrace music and arts programmes. The video will be available shortly on this website.


28 June 2017

‘A Choir in Every Care Home’ has been shortlisted by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) in their prestigious Health and Wellbeing Awards, in the Arts & Health category. It is a great honour to be shortlisted, alongside some wonderful projects and organisations. More details here.

RSPH logo


27 June 2017

Douglas Noble and Trish Vella-Burrows presented the initiative and led a workshop at the Creative Dementia Arts Network Conference, at Sheffield Hallam University.



19 June 2017

Evan Dawson and Douglas Noble, together with representatives of the Sydney De Haan Research Centre, activities co-ordinator Karen Cape and musician Julia Turner, presented the initiative at the Bristol International Culture, Health and Wellbeing Conference.DCcG_VrXkAARzif.jpg-large.jpegDSCF1602

15 June 2017

To launch the next practical stage of the project, we met with representatives from various care homes, together with musicians and staff from LMN and Sound Sense; and Professor Norma Daykin and Dr David Walters of the Centre for Arts as Health at Winchester University. During our day together, we discussed how we hope to introduce new music programmes to six of their homes. Through various workshops and discussions, we agreed a theory of change model, to guide our evaluation process over the months ahead. It was a very successful meeting, building on all the work done so far.


18 May 2017

Douglas Noble and Evan Dawson met with Professor Norma Daykin and Dr David Walters from Winchester University, in Bristol. We are delighted that Professor Daykin and Dr Walters have agreed to be our academic partners for the next practical stage of the project.


16 May 2017

“There are no pills for loneliness and poverty but a rich cultural context can help ensure residents are better connected to each other and feel more able to cope.”

NHS Halton’s Clinical Commissioning Group announced their new manifesto for wellbeing, including a main strategic aim to work with us, and to help create a choir in every care home. This resulted from many discussions with us, and may be the first time a CCG has made such a clear move towards investing in arts programmes at a strategic level. We are delighted to be supporting it. More details here.


12 May 2017

Working with Creative Inspirations CIC, we convened a group of 35 people from care homes in the Shrewsbury area to test drive the new website, and help us decide whether it is ready to be publicised widely. We also made several short video interviews.

It was a hugely positive day, with a lot of very useful advice offered, but a general feeling that the Choir in Every Care Home project is much needed, and offering something very valuable to the care sector.


28 April 2017  We met again with Andrea Sutcliffe at the CQC, who reiterated her support for the project.


March 2017

A small group of people from different care homes and other roles met in London to consider the website and materials from various different perspectives. We know that we are trying to reach people who are interested in bringing music to care homes, but don’t know how to achieve this. The group made many insightful comments, which we are going to use to make a series of changes. We have also secured funding to carry out some pilot studies, to introduce music programmes into six care homes, and evaluate the results in partnership with Winchester University and several large care home chains.


February 2017  Funding was confirmed from the Baring Foundation and others for us to continue the work. A small group of care sector representatives will meet to discuss how successfully the existing materials have reached their target ‘audiences’, and how we should refine them.


December 2016 and January 2017 –  Building on all the work done so far, we consulted with various partners and advisors, considering how the project should develop. Funding for the next phases of the project was saught, on the basis that we needed to refine the work done so far, and circulate it further; and also test out some of the conclusions in practice.


Autumn 2016

Phase 1 of the project was featured at several conferences around the UK, and much positive feedback was received from the care and arts sectors.


September 2016

The initiative is featured on the cover, and in depth, in Sound Sense’s ‘Sounding Board’ magazine.







27 August 2016 – Evan and Kathryn led a session at the annual conference of the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD) at Winchester University, to discuss the potential contribution that amateur singers and professional choir leaders could make. A video of the discussion will be available soon on ABCD’s website.


5 July 2016  Evan and Kathryn met with the Arts Committee at the Baring Foundation to discuss the conclusion of Phase 1 of the project and how things should develop over the coming year(s). We hope to make some further announcements about this soon.


June and July 2016



Since the launch, the resources and toolkits have been circulated by several large organisations including Care England, the National Care Forum, NAPA, the London Arts and Health Forum, Voluntary Arts, Arts and Health South West and the Mental Health Foundation.

We have also discussed it at other conferences, including Kathryn’s appearance at the 32nd World Conference of the International Society for Music Education in Glasgow from 24-29 July, pictured here.








24 May 2016


The website and wider initiative were fully launched at the conference of Care England and the National Care Forum in London, with hugely encouraging and constructive responses from all present, including Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of the Care Quality Commission.


23 May 2016  We presented the initiative to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, at the House of Lords.


17 May 2016  We ‘soft-launched’ the project to the TONSIL meeting at Making Music, representing leading singing organisations from around the UK. The response was extremely positive, and many helpful suggestions and offers of help were made.


12 May 2016 – We presented the headline findings and information about the toolkit and website  to the plenary at the All Wales Arts Health & Wellbeing Network The Art of Health in Wales Symposium to delegates from arts and health from across Wales, in the context of the development of a new All Wales Arts and Health Strategy.


9 May 2016


The ‘end of the beginning’ last Working Group meeting took place at Kings Place, to review all that has happened during the past year. Professor Stephen Clift produced the final draft of the Literature Review, and we discussed the findings and key messages from all the other pieces of work. The website is being updated to reflect all this, and will soon be ready for us to widely launch. Michelle James from Sing Up gave us a clear picture of how the work could develop on a much more ambitious scale, if further funding can be found. Details of all these discussions are in the Working Papers.


14 April – We presented an update on our research findings and promoting the imminent launch of the website and toolkit in a breakout seminar about the project at the Creative Dementia Arts Network Annual Conference in Oxford. Arts and Dementia: Researching, Learning and Sharing.


March / April 2016 – The next stage has been to gather more specific case studies and examples of good practice from around the UK, based on recommendations from all our Working Group organisations. A summary of these is in our Working Papers, together with an analysis of the results.


On 29 February 2016 we ran stall at  2016 MHA annual conference – Later Life Matters: Flourishing in an Ageing Society, which took place in Westminster, talking to delegates about the initiative and gathering feedback.


All our survey results were completed and analysed in time for our progress meeting at the Baring Foundation on 17 February 2016. Detailed data was submitted by over 150 care homes and over 100 musicians, which you can see in our Working Papers.


30 November 2015


The second of our large working group meetings took place at Kings Place, in London, attended by senior representatives from our (growing) Working Group. Details of the meeting are in our Working Papers.


30 September 2015

We’ve been consulting all summer with different people and organisations, working out what we do and don’t know about the care and arts sectors; in this context, the demand and supply sides. We need to understand what is happening in care homes at the moment, including those that don’t have any arts or music provision at all. We need to know what the barriers might be to creating singing group for them, and what the best ways might be to overcoming those barriers. We also need to find out what singing is already taking place, who is leading it, and whether they would be able to do any more of this. We’ve launched two surveys, one for care homes, and one for music leaders, which we are circulating as far and wide as possible. We’ve already had lots of great responses, and are collecting some fascinating data from all around the UK.

Please help us to make these surveys as comprehensive and useful as possible by following the above links, and perhaps sending them to people you know. They need to be completed by 6 November, for entry into the prize draws!


The Steering Group assembled again on 9 July 2015, to review progress with each of the above actions, and ensure that all Working Group members are able to contribute. We circulated a summary to everyone involved, and are also working on a more public-facing document, which we can circulate to the many people that have signed up (through this website) for updates about the project. We hope to sent this out soon.


On 19 March 2015, Evan Dawson, Kathryn Deane and Douglas Noble met with the Baring Foundation’s Director David Cutler to confirm the final details of the Foundation’s agreement to fund this proposal.


On 12 August 2015, we were delighted when two further organisations joined this initiative. These are ‘Care England’ and the ‘West Kent Dementia Action Alliance’. There are now 30 organisations involved.


The first meeting of the larger Working Group took place on 2 June 2015 in London. In the photographs below you can see David Cutler (Baring foundation), Rod Patton (Natural Voice Practitioners Network) and Simon Proctor (Nordoff Robbins) addressing the group. Further details of this very productive meeting will be posted here in due course.

ACIECH 2  IMG_2170


We will be using this space to keep track of the project, and also adding further pages showing the evidence base for this work, and any other resources that we develop as the work progresses over the coming months.

As a group, we identified a sequence of “enquiries” that would enable us to move forward. These were as follows:

E1 What are the purposes of singing in care homes? Demand
E2 What sorts of singing exist, and how do they address those purposes? Supply
E3 Where is singing currently not of the quality required to meet those purposes? Demand
E4 How could singing quality be improved to better meet those purposes? Supply
E5 How would care sector ask for more appropriate singing; how could this be communicated and supplied? Demand/


E6 What are the implications of fulfilling E5? Demand/


Against each of the above “enquiries”, we agreed a set of actions, and all of the organisations involved have offered to contribute to at least one (and in some cases several) of these actions. During the summer, we will be working with members of the Working Group on each of these areas, with a view to drawing together all these contributions during Autumn 2015.


On 20 April 2015, we had the first meeting of our Lead Partners group, together with Professor Stephen Clift. It was a very successful day, reviewing the various different strands of the project, and planning for the first meeting of the Working Group itself.