How an African church choir made a difference to care home life in Greater Manchester

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Care homes are rarely a source of good news. The system is underfunded, understaffed and overextended, and homes are routinely found to be inadequate. Low expectations and negative stereotypes, particularly in the media, exacerbate the problem. But when positive relationships are placed at the centre of adult social care, care homes have the potential to be joyful, lively places.
Our research has looked at what happens when care homes facilitate community connections between their older residents and refugees. We have found that singing, in particular, is a good tool for breaking down social barriers, reducing isolation and improving wellbeing. Group singing can benefit everyone.
From 2016 to 2019, we worked with four care homes in Bolton, Greater Manchester, and a local choir which visited the homes once a month. The residents were older adults, predominantly white British. Some had diagnoses of dementia or mental health problems.
The choir was comprised of six to ten young people and adults from the Ephrata Church Community, a local black African church. They brought keyboards and guitars and set up shop in communal areas. The residents were free to come and go as they pleased.
Our group singing project delivered on all fronts. Participants were treated with respect and involved in decision making. They forged connections with the choristers and each other, shared personal experiences and knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2023

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