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New social prescribing resources launched to harness the health benefits of singing and playing with others

12th May 2022

Making Music, the UK’s membership organisation for leisure-time music, and Singing for Health Network announce the launch of free downloadable guides on social prescribing for music groups and social prescribers (also known as ‘link workers’).

Adapted for both vocal and instrumental leisure-time music groups, they are available for free to download on the Making Music website.

Part of the NHS Personalised Care programme, social prescribing is a way for GPs and local agencies to refer people to a link worker, who takes a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They then connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support.

There is a growing evidence base that highlights the health benefits of singing or playing music in a group. These activities can be particularly effective for improving mental health and wellbeing, as well as combatting loneliness and isolation. Singing in particular can support lung health and be used to help the management of symptoms for conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s.

In addition to general information on social prescribing, the new guides help groups and link workers to understand each other better and interact more effectively. For example, the guide for music groups includes suggestions on how to brief a link worker about a music group, and the guide for link workers explains more about the huge diversity of music groups, and how to find singing or instrumental groups across the UK. Alongside the free resources, Making Music member groups can also access additional, editable templates and assessment tools.

On Friday 20 May, 10am to 11:30am, Making Music will be hosting a free online event on social prescribing with representatives from both sides of the scheme, featuring Social Prescriber Sue Moorchild and Singing for Health Network Manager Baz Chapman. Anyone can attend but spaces are limited, so book ahead on the Making Music website.

Barbara Eifler, Making Music Chief Executive, said:

“Music groups are all about serving their communities and many have been wondering how they can offer the benefit of their activity to people being referred for social prescribing. We hope these resources will make it easier for groups to welcome patients and for link workers to understand the social and wellbeing aspects of music groups.”

Baz Chapman, Singing for Health Network Manager, said:

“We are delighted to have collaborated with Making Music to extend these resources to instrumental groups as well as choirs. There are many successful social prescribing schemes to music groups already in place across the UK, but there’s huge potential for more, and we want to support greater connection between music groups and Social Prescribers through these resources.”

The guides have been created in consultation with Music for Good, National Academy for Social Prescribing, Natural Voice Network, Sing for Pleasure, Sound Sense and Making Music.