Music and Mindfulness
A story by Paragon Music
We delivered a programme of online inclusive music workshops for adults with additional support needs, alongside yoga and mindfulness sessions for carers, including support workers, parents and Paragon support staff.
What Music and Mindfulness did
We delivered a programme of regular inclusive music workshops for adults with additional support needs in Glasgow. These took place online initially then transitioned to hybrid sessions, with some people joining us in person at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, while others continued to make music with us from the safety of their own homes. Music sessions were held on a Tuesday morning and mostly included people who came from our existing network of adults with additional support needs. These sessions offered respite for carers from their caring role. The hybrid sessions have worked extremely well, as they continue to allow people who are isolating, who have social anxiety or other mental health issues, to continue to connect with their friends and make music together.
We delivered weekly yoga and mindfulness sessions for carers, including support workers, parents and Paragon support staff. We decided to continue to deliver the sessions online when some of the restrictions were lifted, as this suited people best. We also opened up the sessions to adults with additional support needs from our programmes, to attend on their own or alongside their carers. This enabled everyone to benefit from learning yoga and mindfulness tools together and a number of carers reported that they used breathing and relaxation techniques with the person they care for to help reduce stress and stay calm.
Our project aligned with all of the Creative Breaks priority areas, including providing mutual benefit - for both carers and those they care for; personalisation - we tailored the project to suit he participants and continued to gather feedback and adapt as the project progressed; targeted support - by engaging with those who had been most severely impacted by the pandemic, including people with complex and multiple disabilities, those living in deprived and rural areas; adding value - by delivering a high-quality experience through ensuring all of our staff are highly trained and skilled in working in an inclusive manner; knowledge and understanding - we learned a lot from delivering this project and through our evaluation, which will inform how we deliver future projects.
What Paragon Music has learned
We learned that a project’s success is very often determined by an ability to be responsive and flexible to the needs of the people we work with, including carers and the people they care for. We had to change the format, day and time of the sessions to respond to the current pandemic situation and people’s fluctuating timetables and commitments.
This was the first time we had delivered a programme that was specifically targeted at carers, including parents and support workers of the people who attend our inclusive arts programmes. It was wonderful to see the impact on their mental health and wellbeing and also see how they used some of the techniques they learned to support them in their caring role.
Through our evaluation and feedback, we have realised how important it is for carers and those they care for to have access to an activity that specifically supports their physical and mental wellbeing. We are therefore planning to continue to deliver and develop our Letting Go programme.
How Paragon Music has benefitted from the funding
Since receiving Creative Breaks funding and setting up our Letting Go, yoga and mindfulness programme, we have integrated more health and wellbeing practices into our organisation. We have appointed a Wellbeing Champion within our operational team, who all staff and volunteers can now approach with any concerns or issues. Staff and volunteers are also invited to fill out a Wellbeing Action Plan, to enable us to support everyone in the best way possible. As mentioned above, we are also planning to continue our Letting Go programme to reach more carers and cared for people, as well as Paragon staff, giving them access to an activity that directly supports their physical and mental wellbeing.
30 Carers and 25 Cared-for people experience improved physical and/or mental wellbeing
We sent out an evaluation survey to all of the carers of the people attending our Inclusive Music programme and our Yoga and Mindfulness Programme. 100% of carers said that the person they care for had improved physical and/or mental wellbeing as a result of taking part in the music programme. 75% of carers said that they themselves had improved physical and/or mental wellbeing as a result of the person they care for taking part, and 25% didn’t know. 100% of respondents of the Yoga and Mindfulness survey agreed that taking part had a positive impact on their mental and/or physical wellbeing.
S regularly attended Paragon’s Letting Go, Yoga and Mindfulness, on a Friday morning and is the parent of one of the Inclusive Music participants. She reported that the music sessions had a positive impact on her son’s wellbeing: “Having been in isolation from march 2020 it has given him something to look forward to and have interaction with others.” Her own wellbeing has also been positively impacted by participating in the Letting Go sessions: “I feel calmer after a session of yoga and relaxed breathing - it’s such a nice addition to my day!”
Up to 50 carers access yoga and mindfulness sessions
Over the course of the project, 27 carers, including support workers, family members and Paragon support staff took part in live Yoga and Mindfulness sessions. We uploaded a number of the sessions onto Youtube and sent out the links to parents and carers on our database, which further enhanced our reach. Furthermore, 29 carers benefited from the person they support taking part in the inclusive music programme - 100% of respondents of the inclusive music survey said that they had the opportunity to have a break from their caring role during the sessions.
J’s mum attended the inclusive music sessions from the beginning: “The Carer was taking my daughter then zoom sessions, allowing me a break.” She also said that the sessions had a positive impact on her own wellbeing: “It gives me time to relax knowing my daughter is enjoying herself.” and also added an additional comment to her feedback: “Keep up the great work, you make a lot of people happy”
30 Carers report enhanced mental wellbeing and ability to cope with their caring role
When asked, do you feel the Yoga and Mindfulness sessions have supported you in your caring role, 67% agreed and 33% didn’t know. 100% of carers of respondents of the Inclusive Music survey said that they were better able to cope in their caring role, as a result of the person they support taking part. We received the following comments: “I have more energy after a break from my caring role.” and “It allows everyone to have a break.”