As project lead of our Celebrating Age Wiltshire project, Rebecca Seymour knows all too well how our rural region can be isolating for older people, and how creative projects can help…

‘Loneliness’ and ‘isolation’ have been two key words on Celebrating Age Wiltshire’s agenda for the last three years, as we’ve been bringing high quality arts and music events to older people around the county; accessing local, community venues such as libraries, village halls and sheltered housing lounges. At this current time, even that isn’t local enough for anyone now, as we all self-isolate. This means most of us are now communicating through social media and various online platforms. The telephone isn’t really an adequate method of communications for meetings, so via our screens we have group discussions, plan, create and see each other smiling and waving to lift our spirits.

Many of the older people we work with across the region are not part of this online community and rely on care professional visits, neighbours popping round and volunteers giving them a lift to our events for social interaction.

Sadly, the current situation means that almost all that social contact has temporarily had to stop and their isolation is even more acute at this present time. We all need to make that extra effort to keep in touch with these extremely isolated people and their phone is still their ‘lifeline’ for a chat. For those who fortunately are online and particularly for those in care homes who aren’t receiving any visitors, WMC’s Technical Manager Dan is currently editing four Celebrating Age Wiltshire concerts that we managed to film with several wonderful musicians whose concerts had to be cancelled.

These concerts are similar to the events we put on multiple times a week across Wiltshire to help older people stay engaged creatively, and provide social events. As we cannot currently visit, these will be shared as a concert series via YouTube and Facebook and will hopefully bring some uplifting musical interaction for many isolated audiences around the county and beyond.

Of course, these videos are not just for older people, but for anyone who would like to hear some wonderful music at this time.

As such, please do share the concert videos with loved-ones as they come out online.

Make sure to follow Wiltshire Music Centre on Facebook, and subscribe on YouTube to see them.