Musical Memories – Elevenses

Established in 2016 Musical Memories is a not for profit organisation based in Ryedale North Yorkshire,  created to give older people the opportunity to sing together and enjoy each other’s company with the aim of combatting loneliness and isolation. Never has this been more needed than in the past tumultuous year.

When the COVID 19 pandemic struck in March 2020 MM quickly pivoted from delivering live in-person sessions in the community, ‘tooled-up’ and ‘up-skilled’ to create an online service and since then has delivered over 180  livestreamed sessions with over 25,000 views, reaching people in all parts of the country.

‘Elevenses’ is currently livestreamed free on Facebook on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week at 11.00 am and has developed into a ‘magazine-style’ show which includes a couple of vintage songs, real time online chat with participants, live interviews, short videos, Tik Toks, photographs sent in by our singers and footage from the Yorkshire Film Archive.  Birthdays and anniversaries are always celebrated and laughter is at the heart of each session. There’s a weekly ‘guest-spot song’ from our Community Liaison Officer, who is also a Digital Champion and helps people to log on and use their devices. We even loan out tablets if people need them.  Each sessions lasts about 20 minutes and our termly ‘runs’ usually follow a theme: so far we’ve explored ‘Songs from Different Decades’ ‘Journeys’ ‘Our Happy Places’ and we’re currently enjoying the ‘Sounds of the Sixties’.

High quality songbooks are professionally printed and sent out to participants ahead of the  run so that everyone can join in with the singing at home, and CDs & songbooks are sent out after the run to regular MM beneficiaries who we know are unable to access the online service, so that they can join in too.

Our volunteers have given over 400 hours of their time to support our venture: they find out how people are doing and keep their ‘ear to the ground’, they contribute songs, photos, stories and chat, which encourages other people to get involved too.

90% of our participants,  when asked in a recent survey, said that our sessions helped them to get through the pandemic by helping to beat feelings of loneliness and isolation.

‘Thank you so much for all the cheer and enjoyment you have given to so many people, which is deeply appreciated even more this year. You have been a lifeline and a joy’ GP Kirkbymoorside

‘Thank you so much for the songs, they keep me going’ JV Pickering

‘Just wanted to let you know that Elevenses has brought sunshine and fun and laughter into the gloomiest of days’ SG Pickering

We’ve gathered participants from all over North Yorkshire and some from other parts of the country too and our ‘Elevenses’ sessions have helped us to stay in touch with all the members of the Musical Memories family.

In fact everyone is welcome to join Ruth and Neil of Musical Memories for an Elevenses chat, laugh and a song or two – you can sing, whistle or just watch but we can promise we will definitely raise a smile and you will be in good company!

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Published 9 June 2021

Ruth Hannah


Musical Memories