60% of elderly people living in care homes have never received a single visitor. The isolation and impact on mental health can be devastating.
We want to bring joy, laughter and friendship to care homes with a weekly singing and social group for children, parents and residents.
Will you help us?
The UK is highly segregated by age and it’s been getting worse for 25 years, leaving many older people isolated and institutionalised and depriving younger people of their experience and wisdom. Loneliness is now one of the biggest threats to the physical and mental health of all generations. (source)
The Together Project is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company that will create a nationwide programme of intergenerational activities that bring joy to people’s lives. We will reduce loneliness, widen children’s understanding of society and help integrate local communities.
It’s something we’re incredibly passionate about and believe could make a significant impact to people’s mental and spiritual wellbeing across the country. And we desperately need YOUR help to launch.
We need to raise £20,000 to:
- build ongoing relationships with 10-15 care homes
- reach hundreds of isolated older people, many of whom have dementia
- recruit and train skilled volunteers
- buy instruments, toys and other equipment
- publicise the new sessions to parents and carers
- prove that this type of intervention can significantly reduce loneliness in older people across the UK and bridge the UK's huge generation gap
We anticipate that 1,500+ parents, children and elderly people will directly benefit from the money raised.
The Together Project’s first activity is Songs & Smiles, a weekly singing and social group for babies and toddlers, their parents/carers and elderly people, held in residential care homes. We’ve been running a pilot since July 2017 at one home in Walthamstow, east London. The feedback from staff, residents, their families and the children’s parents has been incredibly moving. Now we want to roll this out to the rest of the UK, with other exciting activities to follow.
The Together Project is currently run by me, Louise Goulden, whilst looking after my one-year-old son Heath. I’m leading the Songs & Smiles sessions, marketing it to parents and planning the business. I have great support from family and friends, but I need to raise the initial capital to get fully up and running and pay for essentials such as equipment and training for volunteers.
The Together Project will be financed by a mixture of trade revenue (charging parents and care homes a small, subsidised amount to take part), donations and grant funding. we’ve spoken to several organisations that award funding and they’ve been incredibly positive about our plans. However, grants take many months to come through, and having a proven track record will make it much more likely that we’ll secure the size of grants we need for long-term success.
Crowdfunding will enable us to launch a wider five month pilot of Songs & Smiles at 10-15 care homes. During this time we will also secure grant funding for the next phase, allowing us to roll Songs & Smiles out across further locations. We want to give every care home, child and parent in the country the chance to get involved.
Songs & Smiles is just the start though - we've got big plans for future formats. Our next one unites five year olds and elderly people in local libraries, and after that we’ll be teaming up young teens and retirement home residents to co-create unique events.
Louise Goulden - Founder & Director
I was a marketing strategist for 15 years, working with clients such as the Commonwealth Games and Royal Mail, until I went on maternity leave in 2016. I have volunteered at charities supporting both elderly and young people for over a decade, including Reach Out and Link Age. The Together Project was born out of a desire to channel my professional expertise into a venture that brings about positive social change for local communities.
Rosie Durham - Financial planning & business support (volunteer)
Rosie is supporting The Together Project around her day job at Cancer Research UK. Previously Head of Group Finance at a FTSE 250 company, she brings extensive experience of financial planning and growth together with an in-depth understanding of the not-for-profit sector.
We are in the process of appointing a number of additional volunteer Directors to add breadth of experience and knowledge to the Board.
There is so much compelling evidence about the huge benefits that intergenerational activities can bring – not just for the participants themselves, but for society as a whole. But this simply isn’t happening on a large-scale basis in the UK. As a nation we’re more segregated by age than we’ve ever been, and it’s leading to isolation, loneliness and a lack of mutual understanding.
And this is particularly prevalent in care homes, where shockingly, over 60% of residents never receive visitors. The much-talked about Channel 4 show Old People's Home For Four Year Olds brought conversation on this topic into the mainstream and demonstrated the remarkable impact that the presence of children can have in this setting.
We believe that The Together Project is well-placed to help bring about lasting societal change. Here’s why:
- It's addressing a well-documented problem, with lots of evidence as to the benefits that the types of activity we provide will bring. Funding organisations have been extremely positive about our approach.
- The people working on the project have a proven track-record in business development, financial planning and marketing strategy.
- The project has personal endorsements from a range of experts in the field, including directors of national charities, a CQC care home inspector and a clinical psychologist.
- The Together Project is a Community Interest Company. This means that we can run as an efficient private business, but all our profits and assets are used solely for social good.
- The reaction to our Songs & Smiles pilot has been incredible, both anecdotally and via our parent feedback forms. 100% of respondents wanted to come again and all said they’d be willing to pay the entry fee we need to help make it sustainable.
- Intergenerational activity is a hot topic at the moment, in part thanks to the recent Channel 4 programme Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds, so it’s the perfect time to launch.
Songs & Smiles equipment and consumables:
- a range of exciting musical instruments, from tambourines to triangles, for children, parents and residents
- toys for Meet & Mingle time. Having a toy to play with helps encourage interaction between the younger children and the residents
- spill-proof hot drink cups. These offer a safe way for parents and residents to get to know each other over a hot drink and biscuit, which is a lovely bonding experience
- name badges. We all wear them to help people get to know each other and feel part of a friendly community
- sensory equipment such as balloons and bubbles. These bring added colour, vibrancy and joy
Spreading the word:
We need to reach local communities to tell them about Songs & Smiles so that as many people as possible have the chance to attend. This will be done through digital channels and printed material, such as leaflets in local shops. We also need materials to take to care homes to demonstrate the value of our work.
This includes staff costs to train and manage volunteers, coordinate the sessions with care homes and make the project work overall. We also need to pay for essentials such as insurance and accountancy fees.