Songs & Smiles

A music group for babies and toddlers, their grown-ups and care/retirement home residents.

We sing, move, play, make friends and - most importantly - have lots of fun!

Watch the BBC Stories film about our Songs & Smiles sessions

Our sessions have been co-designed with a specialist music therapist to make them engaging and interactive for the youngest through to the oldest members of the group. Our mission is for everyone to come away smiling, and we mean everyone - tiny babies, on-the-go toddlers, parents and guardians, older residents, people living with dementia, care home staff, our volunteers, the residents' families (who often love to join us)...we all have a great time.

From colourful scarves and shakers to bubble machines and action songs, there's plenty to stimulate the imagination and senses. Our sessions are informal and relaxed, giving everyone the chance to participate at their own comfort level. 

After the music we have Meet & Mingle time - lots of toys, refreshments and time to chat. As parents/guardians and children become regular attendees, intergenerational friendships begin to flourish. It’s lovely for residents to watch the little ones grow over time, for parents/guardians to connect with new people and for children to have older people in their lives on a regular basis.

Songs & Smiles is a wonderful project that bridges the gap between generations. Our residents get so much out of it, I’d recommend it to any care home
— Deepak Luckhan, Manager of Ross Wyld Care Home, London

For care/retirement homes

  • A deeply-enriching experience for your residents. Music is proven to have a positive impact on cognitive functions for older people in care homes, particularly those with dementia, whilst intergenerational activities reduce loneliness and feelings of isolation.
  • A fully-managed service: we provide trained volunteers, equipment, and handle all the marketing to parents. We ensure that our sessions have a minimal impact on your staff’s workload (and hopefully bring them added job satisfaction!)  
  • Affordable and flexible: we tailor our service to fit your requirements. As a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, our priority is ensuring every care home that wants to take part can do so, regardless of circumstance.

For parents/guardians

  • A wonderful way to give something back to your local community. By attending with your child, you’re helping to reduce loneliness and social isolation amongst older people – it’s a great feeling!
  • Gives your child the valuable opportunity to interact with different generations, helping to make the ageing process and disability a normal part of their lives.
  • A fun, creative and affordable activity to enjoy with your little ones. Our sessions are aimed at 0-4 year olds, but older siblings are welcome too. Music, playing instruments and singing are a fantastic way to develop your child’s language and fine motor skills.

Sessions cost £1 per adult+child, with additional adults and children costing 50p each. This includes refreshments. Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or join our mailing list to hear about new Songs & Smiles sessions in your area.

For volunteers

  • A life-affirming way to spend your free time, bringing joy and laughter to those in our society who are often most at need.
  • We have a variety of roles, whether you want to lead the groups, welcome families, help with publicity or more.
  • We provide all the training and ongoing support you’ll need.

For more information on the benefits of intergenerational activities, and of the positive impact that music and singing have in care home settings, take a look at the research from Beth Johnson Foundation, Dementia UK, NHS Scotland and the Local Government Association.

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Where and when?

Songs & Smiles currently runs in north east London: Walthamstow, Leyton, Chingford and Forest Gate. We have more launches planned over the coming months.

The sessions cost £1 per adult+child, including refreshments. Register your interest in joining a session by emailing songs@thetogetherproject.co.uk.

Today was so great…I could barely hold back a little tear seeing everyone having such a good time! It really brightened up everyone’s day
— Alison, Robin’s mum
Clinical psychologist Dr. Ariane Zegarra describes the effect that Songs & Smiles has on those taking part, as well as care home staff.
It’s fantastic! I love the sing-alongs and watching all the kids enjoying themselves. The residents all love it. I just think it’s a wonderful idea really.
— Kathleen, Ross Wyld Care Home resident

David Wood OBE, Chief Executive of national charity Attend, explains why The Together Project's Songs & Smiles sessions are so effective in bringing people of different ages together in meaningful ways.

Stephen Burke, Director of think tank United For All Ages, explains why he believes The Together Project will make such an important contribution to our society.

Songs & Smiles was the best thing we could ever do. Everybody was so happy every week to have you here. It was amazing, like a miracle.
— Karolina Gatkiewicz, Activities Coordinator, Ross Wyld Care Home