Under normal circumstances, The Smiling Sessions, Shapeshifter Productions’ popular participatory singing project, go into care homes and community centres for the elderly across deprived areas of London, and host sing-a-longs for the residents and members. The aim of the group is to end loneliness and social exclusion for elderly people, through encouraging them to become more active, achieve improved health, well-being, confidence, and interpersonal relationships, as well as in-house volunteering and leadership, through participation in singing their favourite songs.
This has unfortunately had to be halted, due to the current COVID-19 crisis, with the news reporting on the daily death tolls among the elderly in care.
The news reports mostly neglect to mention the very human element of this; many elderly people in care homes are still going strong, and just like the rest of us, struggling to cope with the ordeal of lockdown, but often with the added tragedy of having to deal with the death of their close friends from this devastating virus.
Thankfully, The Smiling Sessions is aware of this, and are trying to continue to give some enjoyment – not to mention routine – in the lives of our elderly citizens, and are hosting their weekly sing-a-longs online. They have created The Smiling Remotely Weekly Singalongs (with on-screen lyrics), and additionally, they have been having celebrities virtually “dropping in”. In the next few weeks, The Smiling Sessions have Lucy Porter, Derrek Riddell, La Voix, Rod Argent, Jay Aston and Cheryl Baker of The Fizz, Nick Moran, and Basil Brush, all lined up to make an appearance.
On top of all this, The Smile Sessions are raising money to buy iPads and other tablets for care homes and isolated communities, to enable them to join in with the weekly virtual sing-a-longs. You can donate to the project through their PayPal account.
Find out more, and watch The Smiling Sessions in action, on Shapeshifter Productions’ YouTube ChannelYouTube Channel. You can watch La Voix in action below: