The African choirs tackling loneliness in England’s care homes

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The UK has around 430,000 people living in fewer than 18,000 care homes. Research suggests that older residents are more than twice as likely to suffer from severe loneliness than people living in a community setting. Previous studies reported as many as 80 percent of adults with mental health problems living in care were lonely.
“Some residents rarely get a visit from family and care home staff are busy”. They might have a few minutes with a resident to check if they’ve had their medication, or if they’ve had a shower, and then they have to move on. They don’t have time to connect, so patients feel lonely.” The knock-on effects on health, both mental and physical, are dire – as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to The Campaign to End Loneliness. This article presents the work of an African church tackling loneliness in England’s care homes. This singing project is proving to be a joyous, low-cost solution to the epidemic of loneliness in English care homes. Ephrata Church Bolton began working with four Bolton care homes in 2016 until the COVID-19 pandemic when all activities were paused. Up to 10 choristers visited each month, bringing not just their voices but guitars and keyboards, too. This is an ongoing project, and even after the pandemic, this singing project seems to be effective. More need to be done to train other organisations and mobilise many other communities to join their effort in tackling loneliness.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationPositive News
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2023

Cite this