Songs & Smiles Group Leader (volunteer)
Lead the singing and activities and bring fun and happiness to children, parents/guardians and care home residents at our singing and social group.
About Songs & Smiles
Songs & Smiles is an intergenerational event that unites babies/toddlers, their parents/guardians and care home residents. Our aim is to bring a smile to everyone's face through music, participation and interaction.
Many of the residents are unable to get out and about, which can be very isolating, so Songs & Smiles helps them to feel more connected to their community.
It also fulfils a vital role by introducing children to a generation that they might not otherwise regularly come into contact with. And parents/guardians benefit too, by making new friends of different ages and knowing they're making a positive impact in their community - all whilst having lots of fun!
Songs & Smiles follows a format that has been co-designed with a music therapist and includes a mixture of singing, playing percussion instruments and moving to music. Afterwards we have Meet & Mingle time, where everyone can get to know each other over toys, drinks and a tasty biscuit or two.
Songs & Smiles is run by The Together Project, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company. You can read more about the sessions here.
what you'll be doing
You’ll be leading the sessions, following a set format but with the opportunity to tailor it to best meet the needs of the people attending. Then afterwards you’ll be chatting with residents, parents/guardians and children. You’ll be partnered with a Songs & Smiles Group Welcomer, who’ll be there to support you.
In a wider sense, you’ll be creating happiness for lots of people: many residents tell us it’s the highlight of their week.
What we’re looking for
Experience as a musician, teacher, singer or group facilitator would be useful but not essential. More importantly, we need people who are good communicators, confident, enthusiastic and able to engage a diverse group of people. Whilst you don't need to be a professional-level singer, you should be able to hold a tune and feel comfortable at leading the singing elements.
You will be given full training and will shadow another Group Leader for as long as it takes you to become confident to lead the sessions (generally around 3-6 sessions), with as much on-going support as needed. We are looking for people to commit to a minimum of four months in the role once the shadowing period has ended.
Due to the nature of the role, we need someone who is comfortable around both very young children and older people, some of whom may be living with conditions such as dementia. Some of the homes we work with require a DBS check for volunteers.
You will also need to have your own smartphone, which you will use to play music on a stereo via either a lead or Bluetooth. All modern smartphones can easily connect to stereos in both these ways. All the necessary cables, a stereo and the music will be provided and we will show you how to set it up.
New skills and experiences
Comprehensive training and ongoing support
References provided after four months
Fun and sociability
Meeting different people from your local community
Knowing you’ve made a real difference to people’s lives
location & commitment
You’ll be helping to run a one hour session, plus set-up and pack-down time, once a week or once a fortnight on a weekday at a care home.
At the moment we're looking for volunteers in north and north east London. Our current vacancies are in Chingford, Leyton (Bakers Arms) and Canning Town, but we have a number of other locations planned over the coming months. Let us know when you're available, your location and the distance you're willing to travel and we'll do our best to match you to a suitable session.
You will be asked to attend a three hour induction course before starting to shadow another Group Leader. This will include a Dementia Friends Information Session, giving you the opportunity to learn a little more about what it’s like to live with dementia.
Reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed if agreed in advance.