“It makes me so happy and proud to be part of this group”

When the benefits of intergenerational activities are discussed, the emphasis is often placed on outcomes for the older participants. But at Songs & Smiles we know that all three generations involved gain a huge amount – children, their parents/guardians and the care home residents.

We collected impact statements from some of the parents and guardians who attend our groups to learn more about what they feel these benefits are, for themselves and for their little ones. We were delighted to see that they are numerous, profound and – in some cases – life-changing.

They include:

Patricia, Yasmin and baby Ida at Songs & Smiles in Albany Nursing Home, Leyton

Patricia, Yasmin and baby Ida at Songs & Smiles in Albany Nursing Home, Leyton

  • Positive impact on mental health for mothers living with post-natal depression, due to a sense of participation and inclusion

  • Increased sense of engagement with - and being a valued member of - the local community

  • Improvements in language development for young children through singing and socialising

  • Improvements in fine motor skills for young children through playing instruments

  • Building confidence in young children when around older adults and allowing them to form positive bonds with a generation they might not otherwise regularly meet, thereby laying good foundations for later life

  • Promoting social development through care and compassion to others


Here are just a few excerpts from testimonials that we’ve been given permission to share:

“As someone who experiences postnatal depression, it was so good to be in an environment where I felt we were contributing to a positive impact on others and where I felt useful to others. I feel valued and energised as a result of the session, with a lift in my mood. It has also made me feel more a part of the local community, giving a feeling of being reciprocally supported through socialising."

Robyn, mum to Ted (4.5 months)

“I'm a social worker and it's really important for me in raising Max to integrate with as many different people as possible and for him to gain understanding from a young age about being kind and helping others. Songs and Smiles is the perfect start to this. It brings people together who might not usually meet and this not only brings joy and support to those deemed more vulnerable, but also gives people such as myself the opportunity to feel more connected to the community in which we live and to feel as if we are helping and doing something of value. It makes me so happy and proud to be part of this group.”

Rachel, mum to Max (11 months) 

The ethos of the project is consistent with the values that I hope to model to her
— Asuka, mum to Isla

"Me and baby Freddie have so much fun at Songs & Smiles, there's a great mix of songs, instruments, toys and sensory objects. It’s all really well organised and the team very quickly create this amazing atmosphere which is inclusive of everyone in the room, old and young. It’s a wonderful way to bring people together. There’s something so nice about coming away from a baby class thinking that you might have made someone else's week a bit better too."

Jo, mum to Freddie (8 months)  

“Our daughter loves all the activities here and has started to sing some words along. At 22 months, the developmental team monitoring us said her speech was 30 months age-appropriate - we feel it is down to sessions like this allowing babies to communicate with people of various backgrounds and abilities that she is developing in leaps and bounds. Thank you for organising this!”

Liza, mum to Eliana (age 2)

“It’s so lovely to enjoy singing with the children and residents. I think Arthur gets help understanding about helping and talking to adults.

Carol, grandma to Arthur (age 2.5)

“We enjoy Songs & Smiles because it really is full of smiles. I bring my two every single Wednesday and they absolutely love the class. It’s honestly our favourite singing class and because the children learn to tidy up at Songs & Smiles they now tidy up at home! What a brilliant class this is!”

Hannah, nanny to Ivy & Emrys (both 19 months)

There’s something so nice about coming away from a baby class thinking that you might have made someone else’s week a bit better too.
— Jo, mum to Freddie

“There’s one particular older lady who we’ve got to know over the last few months who absolutely adores my little girl. It’s very touching to see them beaming at each other. I think it’s a very enriching experience for my daughter and the ethos of the project is consistent with the values that I hope to model to her”.

Asuka, mum to Isla (7 months)

“I really enjoy coming to Songs and Smiles with Ronnie. I love introducing him to someone and seeing them smile at each other! The babies are a perfect icebreaker for starting a chat and I personally like the feeling of engaging with older members of the community which I wouldn't find easy to do otherwise.”

Clare, mum to Ronnie (5 months) 

“We love going to the group as I think it's very important for children to socialise with their elders. Ava doesn't get to see many people from the older generation and I think that this will help bridge the gap between the generations.”

Sarah, mum to Ava-Rose (2) 

“I love coming as it’s great to see how it puts a smile on the faces of the residents as well as the children. Amelia gets to learn about the care old people need and the care that is provided to them in a nurturing environment (promoting personal, social and emotional development- Early Years Foundation Stage). Amelia enjoys the singing, bubbles and instruments but most of all loves having cuddles with the residents :)”

Holly, mum to Amelia (7 months) 

We want to expand Songs & Smiles across as many local communities as possible. If you believe in the power of our work to change lives, please consider donating to us. We’d be incredibly grateful for any amount you’re able to give, whether as a one-off payment or monthly donation. Thank you.

Christine, Dawn and baby Mabel at Songs & Smiles in Ross Wyld Care Home, Walthamstow (the home sadly closed in 2018)

Christine, Dawn and baby Mabel at Songs & Smiles in Ross Wyld Care Home, Walthamstow (the home sadly closed in 2018)

Louise Goulden