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Our Music Club shortlisted for Fantastic For Families Award 2022

A group of older people sit down in a large hall

Music is a positive way to support people with dementia. We work closely with communities in South Bristol to provide Our Music Club: free music sessions for adults living with dementia and their households or supporters, in collaboration with Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service.

The aim of the group is to use music to improve quality of life of participants by making music together. It forms part of our age-friendly offer and ambition to provide enriching musical experiences for all ages.

This week, Our Music Club has been shortlisted for Best Age-Friendly Outreach in the 2022 Fantastic for Families Awards. Now in its ninth year, the annual Fantastic For Families Awards celebrate the wealth of outstanding creative provision for families and older audiences across the UK.

An older man sitting down holds maracas above his head as other people join him in making music

My confidence has definitely got a lot better since I’ve started coming…

The main thing is the friends that I’ve made through music, which is such an easy way to get to know people.

Our Music Club participant

Creating the space

“It all starts with a cuppa” says project coordinator Giulia. A simple way to begin, but something that’s really important to allowing older people with dementia to feel welcome and relaxed.

The sessions then move into an hour of music making and invites people to make music together in the present moment with activities such as:

  • Physical and vocal warm ups
  • Learning new songs
  • Music appreciation
  • Improvisations
  • Conducting exercises


In developing Our Music Club, we consulted with local households in South Bristol. Musician, Hannah Opstad, played the trumpet in gardens and lounges to share ideas with participants. We noticed positive changes in energy, had moving interactions and gauged interest. In August 2021 we asked all the houses to create bespoke playlists, which we posted to them on mp3 players via Purple Angel Campaign Scheme, giving everyone artistic inspiration.

Since then the group has become more and more established with the people who attend regularly. The group now reaches 10 households with a total of 23 participants: 10 living with dementia and 13 friends or family members.

A woman sitting down leans forward to talk into a microphone

We are all thrilled to have been shortlisted for a Fantastic For Families award for Our Music Club…it’s affirming and inspires participants, musicians and Bristol Beacon staff to continue developing the club together, and see what we can next!

Giulia Bianchini, Creative Producer at Bristol Beacon

Enriching musical experiences for all

“Our Music Club forms part of a wider initiative to engage older people with our work, and ensure our venue is a welcoming space for older people when we reopen in autumn 2023” says Giulia.

It complements our family friendly programme that includes events at Bristol Beacon and in community spaces, including our annual free family arts festival Hoo-Ha that attracts 1000s of people each year; Bloom – a singing group for mothers living with depression as a result of pregnancy or birth, and their babies, Musical Beacons – a group for families with disabled children and our popular Baby Friendly Choir.

Through the power of creating joyful music together, we hope to enrich lives, empower people with creative potential, and build healthy and happy communities. Find out more about our work with communities in Bristol.

Our Music Club is run partnership with the Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service and supported by The Anchor Society, Grateful Society, St. Monica’s Trust and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

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