String of Hearts

GMCVO, working in partnership with 10GM, are running a grants programme to support adults from communities of identity or experience, based in Greater Manchester, that may struggle to achieve higher levels of mental wellbeing.  Funded by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, a total of £175,000 will be given out between July and December 2020. 

This case study looks at one of the GM Mental Wellbeing grant recipients, String of Hearts.

Who are they?

String of Hearts was established in 2019 with the purpose of bringing together older people from Trafford and Wythenshawe to connect and create music. Their activities are open to everyone regardless of background or experience and all participants are involved in co-designing content.

What do they do and why?

Professional musicians from String of Hearts facilitate a range of music-making activities including singing, lyric writing and composing music whilst encouraging participants to express themselves and develop new skills. Their mission is to tackle isolation and remove barriers that older people face to accessing creativity in later life.

During Covid-19 String of Hearts has been delivering group music-making sessions on Zoom and supporting people experiencing increased challenges through the creation of a Music Hotline. The Music Hotline is a free phone call service for people aged over 50 who are isolated and don’t access the internet. Through phone calls with a professional musician, local people can chat about their favourite songs, play or sing together, and create music based on their personal interests.

Over the next 12 months String of Hearts will be expanding its groups across Trafford and Wythenshawe, engaging more older people in music-making opportunities and creating spaces where members of the community can connect, share their ideas and develop positivity about the future together.

“[We] realise how important we are to each other" - Participant

What was their project?

String of Hearts received £496 from a GM Mental Wellbeing micro grant to deliver five online music-making workshops to older people in Trafford. The sessions took place on Zoom between June and August 2020 and included a range of musical activities such as writing lyrics, exploring different styles of music, and recording group members’ musical ideas onto software. The aim of these workshops was to increase participants wellbeing and creativity, reduce social isolation, and develop confidence to attend creativity activities face-to-face in the future.

What impact has the project had?

Older residents from across Trafford formed a new, supportive social group. Group members shared their thoughts and experiences of Covid-19 through music-making and built new connections with other local people. People with different cultural backgrounds collaborated and developed confidence to express their feelings and ideas. The group will continue to meet online, continue writing more songs and developing their musical skills together.

Find out more about String of Hearts or follow them on Twitter.

Find out more about GM Mental Wellbeing Grants here.

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