ShapeShifter Productions is a not-for-profit art organisation, aiming to provide the community with high quality art and encourage people to get involved. Due to their fantastic work, The Rank Foundation supported the organisation with their Smiling Sessions programme.
The Smiling Sessions
The Smiling Sessions project was spread over 20 weeks, delivering 39 sessions at 8 different care homes and care services. The project reached approximately 180 elderly people, often facing social isolation with complex needs, long term health problems and disabilities. During the Smiling Sessions, elderly people were assisted to sing songs by the project coordinators and members of staff from the care homes (see photos of Smiling Sessions).
The sessions made a significant impact on the participant’s quality of life, as group singing stimulates memories, creates a sense of belonging and enhances social, emotional and cognitive well-being, whilst connecting and interacting people. The support staff assisting the sessions noted a vast improvement since the residents started attending, in particular, increased self-esteem, improved social cohesiveness between the residents within the schemes and improved concentration and memory. The staff also noted that shy, disinterested residents gradually light up, start to smile, tap their toe and start singing!
The project clearly facilitated communication between in-house residents and staff at the care homes; enabling social contact within a different environment, in which elderly people were seen in a fresh light. This has not only generated a new respect and understanding, but strengthened the internal community of the housing schemes, where people tend to feel very isolated.
Another event, which particularly brought staff and residents together, was the Tea Dance. Eversheds International Law Firm contacted Shapeshifter Productions in 2015, having identified the organisation as a charity they wanted to support. As a result, a Tea Dance was organised, with Eversheds supplying volunteers to bake cakes, decorate the hall and befriend attendees. The event was really well attended, with over 50 participants present in good spirits, feeling very happy and uplifted.
For more Information
For further information on Shapeshifter Productions, please visit their website here.