Projects with a wellbeing focus, achieving personal, social, emotional and health/mental health outcomes in addition to musical outcomes. Our projects here help to address social isolation and build transferable skills.
Our wellbeing strand is by far our largest strand, with a particular focus on mental health, and links to many programmes across our other strands. As such, the majority of our project participants are people with either a diagnosed mental health condition, or those seeking to manage their wellbeing as a result of a health condition, disability or social isolation/loneliness. Mostly we work in-depth with participants over the duration of a year or longer in our wellbeing strand, giving the opportunity for participants to build trust and rapport with our staff and helping people over the longer-term to achieve their musical and personal goals. We have developed a strong theory of change and evaluation framework which outlines the wellbeing outcomes and positive impact of our work through this strand, with statistical and case studies. Through creative music-making focused on devising original music and lyrics, we develop soft and transferable skills, such as emotional literacy (using music and lyrics to help people express their feelings and emotions constructively), self-identity, social skills and teamwork, the ability to listen and compromise, building resilience and confidence. We support participants to connect with others with shared interests and experiences, becoming part of a community and support network.
New Social Prescribing & Open Access Programmes!
We are excited to have recently launched several new programmes run on a social prescribing/open access model: music for respite (a programme for adult carers); a female group music making programme; an intergenerational music group and a music and mindfulness programme. These are our first foray into a chargeable model for participants but we are mindful of the cost of living crisis and are offering some discounted rates. We are hugely grateful to Arts Council England for their National Lottery Project Grant support to help us trial these programmes – their funding is subsidising the programmes to help keep the group sizes small, so that we can meet everyone’s needs. We have just finished the first term of sessions, though the ‘Music For Respite’ programme is new and will be starting in November. A ‘Singalong Socials’ programme for the young at heart (older adults) will also be coming in early 2024. Please see our opportunities page for more information and booking details.
Musical Connections: is an established creative music-making project for isolated, vulnerable and marginalised adults, run in partnership Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. The project has been running for over 25 years, funded from 2007-2017 by the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme and since then by other trusts and foundations including the Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund and Comic Relief Community Fund. The project was highly commended in the Art, Mental Health & Wellbeing category of the National Positive Practice Awards 2015 & a shortlisted 2016 National Lottery Good Causes Awards finalist. The project has received excellent praise for the outcomes it has achieved, using music as a tool to create positive change - reducing isolation, and improving wellbeing. For further information, please see the Musical Connections project website: Musical Connections website.
Interested? All new members taken onto Musical Connections receive a series of FREE individual one-to-one sessions working with one of our experienced music leaders to build skills and confidence. These sessions are normally held monthly, scheduled around project group sessions and other project opportunities. If you are interested in joining Musical Connections then please do have a look at our Opportunities page for application details. Please see below for more information regarding our Personalised Health Budget offer.
Musical Connections Materials:
Musical Connections newsletters, video materials and worksheets created and sent out to members throughout the Covid19 lockdown can be viewed here. Activities and support were offered throughout the pandemic, with the option of face-to-face or online support under 'support category' guidance from Sept 2020.
From April 2018 - March 2020 our Arts Council England Organisational Development Project sustained our Music Support Worker provision for current Musical Connections members whilst also trialing new outreach delivery models in 5 areas across Birmingham & Solihull to enable us to reach further beneficiaries. See our Organisational Strand and Blog pages for our learning here.
Our ‘Take Note – Music Aids Recovery’ conference held in October 2017 marked the end of our Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities programme funding for the project. The evaluation report launched at the Take Note conference can be found here. The keynote presentation by Alex Coulter of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing can be found here.
Personalised Health Budget Offer: please click here to find out more.
Wavelength: this project provides music making opportunities for young people aged 12-18 referred across mental health services in Birmingham and Solihull, from early detection and intervention services through to acute and forensic services. Please see our Young People strand for more information.
Plugin: this project is based in 4 inpatient settings across Birmingham and Coventry and focuses on using accessible music technology to create new songs and music. Please see our Young People strand for more information.
Being Heard (Cerebral Palsy Midlands Project): A project working CP Midlands’ Being Heard Group, focused on raising awareness around disability arts through a new musical.
Hidden Voices: Quench Arts was a partner on this Carer's Music Fund project, working with MAC and Mencap to increase access to music-making for women and girls with caring responsibilities, funded through Spirit of 2012. See the national press release here.
Hear Me Now: a practical music making project for adult residents of both the Tamarind Centre and Reaside Clinic (medium secure forensic sites), utilising music for its therapeutic and social value and as a positive tool as a part of patient rehabilitation. Quench Arts were contracted directly by Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust to devise and deliver this project during 2015-2016.