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14th October 2014

Plymouth Music Zone has received a prestigious national award for ‘excellence and innovation’ in its work with older people. The Royal Society for Public Health’s Arts and Health Awards 2014 recognise ‘excellent creative arts initiatives that impact on health and wellbeing’. This year’s focus was on the value of creative arts for older people both in the community and health and social care settings. Plymouth Music Zone was one of only 7 projects across the country receiving the Special Commendation. It was awarded for the charity’s ‘Keep Singing, Keepsake’ project that uses music to reduce loneliness and isolation in residential homes and dementia care units throughout Plymouth. 

Lord Christopher Smith, who presented the awards to the winners at a ceremony at the Royal Society for Public Health’s headquarters in London said:

“Enjoying, experiencing, and participating in any aspect of the creative arts can be hugely important for our health, our wellbeing, and our sense of self esteem. The RSPH Awards are really important in reminding us of that fundamental truth, and in helping to encourage more and better direction towards bringing the arts and health together. This year’s focus on work with older people is even more important, and I’m delighted to be able to offer my support.”

PMZ’s Training Coordinator, Anna Batson, and PMZ’s Executive Director, Debbie Geraghty, attended the awards ceremony with the 6 other projects who received the same accolade. PMZ’s Executive Director Debbie Geraghty said:

“It’s tremendously humbling to see work that Plymouth Music Zone feels so passionately about being honoured on the national stage by some of the foremost academics in the world. An Independent Evaluation earlier this year by Professor Jocey Quinn and Claudia Blandon from Plymouth University showed the transformative impact of our intergenerational ‘Keep Singing, Keepsake Project’ and for us it’s all about the life-changing effects we see every day with the amazing older people we have the joy of getting to know and making music with.”

In her speech at the awards ceremony, PMZ’s Executive Director, Debbie Geraghty, dedicated the award to a former PMZ participant, Lynda MacPherson, who had been receiving music sessions and been successfully regaining her voice following a stroke a number of years ago. Sadly, Lynda passed away but the charity intends to commemorate her life with a special memorial award to be launched in November.

For the full RSPH media release detailing the Arts in Health Awards 2014 awards please click here

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