Shapeshifter Productions launches app to support remote singalong sessions in care homes during Lockdown

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Press Release. June 2020

Charity launches app to support remote singalong sessions in care homes during
Lockdown

Shapeshifter Productions, a performing arts charity, has launched a new app to support
remote singalong sessions in care homes and sheltered housing schemes during the
Covid-19 crisis.

Where it began: Our Smiling Sessions past and present
For 10 years, the charity’s team of professional musicians have visited residents in care
homes across London and beyond offering participatory singing experiences. Known as
The Smiling Sessions, these sessions have helped hundreds of isolated senior citizens
– many of whom live in some of the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods – to become
happier, healthier, valued, active and confident.

Shapeshifter Artistic Director Alison Jones commented: “Over the years of delivering
The Smiling Sessions, recognition has grown of the powerful role singing can play in
transforming people’s lives.

“Since mid-March, our housing partners have been completely locked down to prevent
the spread of the virus and care home and housing managers are desperate for support
to help their residents feel connected. Without regular human contact or stimulating, life
affirming events to enjoy, our culturally diverse residents, many of whom are completely
confined to one small room 24/7, are feeling even more lonely and disconnected.
“The impact of this situation and uncertainty it creates can increase the potential for older
adults to be more susceptible to the virus, exacerbating any underlying risk for
depression or anxiety.”

Reaching out during the Lockdown: Our Smiling Remotely Sessions and new app

Shapeshifter Productions has created weekly Smiling Remotely Singalong Sessions with
on-screen lyrics. These are released every Monday as downloadable links and mp3s
and are now available with even easier access to a new app.

Jones continued: “We want to increase morale and well-being during these difficult
times, let our residents know we are still thinking of them. Many of our residents don’t
have access to the internet but a carer can take a disinfected tablet into each room to
run the video, or play the mp3 throughout the corridors on a Bluetooth speaker,
encouraging residents to come to their doors at safe distances.”

Filmed by the charity’s fabulous musicians, the sessions are starting to attract celebrity
guests to join the team, singing songs, new and old, that stimulate memories and
emotions.

Building a free library of songs for everyone to access, all the sessions are available on
the charity’s YouTube channel and also on the newly created Smiling Session app,
which adjusts to wherever the user is in the home.

Here’s some of the fantastic feedback we’ve had about our Smiling Sessions:
“Residents sit at safe distances in the lounges, singing along with the musicians on the
TVs. Some stand up to dance, holding my hands.”

Katrina, Parkview House

“I go into individual flats, singing your songs over and over. Pandy remembered you and
started crying, talking about Pete in your band who she always chatted to. She loves,
“What a Wonderful World”, as it reminds her of her friend who died. They all loved “You
Are My Sunshine”. I play the mp3 as we do not have wifi.”

Helen, Elgin Close

The easiest way to take part in our Smiling Remotely Sessions is via our app:
smilingsessions.com, which gives the choice of downloading or streaming throughout
your building.

Alternatively, all our sessions to date are on our YouTube channel here

For more information about our new remote singalong sessions and app or to set up an
interview with Artistic Director, Alison Jones,

contact violaine@shapeshifter-productions.com

Shapeshifter Productions

Founded in 2007, Shapeshifter Productions is a performing arts charity that delivers
original, high-quality projects that actively engage communities in a range of cultural
activities. Primarily funding dependent, our aim is to enhance confidence, wellbeing and
self-esteem and reduce isolation.

For more details:

● Visit http://www.shapeshifter-productions.com/
● Call +44 7843739099; or
● Email violaine@shapeshifter-productions.com

Donate:

Please consider supporting us at this time. We want to sing, connect and communicate
with as many vulnerable and isolated older people as possible.

Click here to make a donation.
Or
https://localgiving.org/appeal/smilingremotely/

June 2020