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Jukebox Uke is a music project working with care homes across

the region to reduce the feeling of isolation enabling individuals

to reconnect with themselves and the world through the power

of music. It offers wonderful support for the mental health and

well being of those shielding due to covid (including not just

residents in care homes but often many of their family members)

and increased support capacity for care home staff too.

From June to Dec 2020 thanks to Arts Council Emergency

Response Funding Mad Alice Theatre professional performer

and musician Pete digitally visited 4 care homes with his trusty Uke and hosted 1 on 1 virtual music encounters with 36 individual residents. (and sessions were also delivered with older residents at home with a member of their household/support bubble present)

These FREE virtual sessions created a safe supported sensory space to chat about music, listen, make requests and sing along – no musical encounter was the same as they were led by the participating individual. Happening in real time, each virtual musical encounter focussed on the individual in that moment; responding to their needs, their mood, their musical tastes to engage them with a high quality, enjoyable participatory musical experience.

Music has the power to unlock emotions and memories and our one on ones sought to use that power to enable a deeper level of engagement. For residents with dementia, music can achieve rare and very real encounters and connect with the person within.

This project was delivered with the support and guidance of each individual participating care home and we worked with residents with a wide range of needs. These virtual music encounters happened in real time – but these digital moments were  filmed and later shared with residents and their families,  so they can be relived and enjoyed  with their family, friends and the care home.


Family members were contacted prior to the sessions by our wonderful facilitator Bev Atkinson to find out a little about the residents, to give family members an opportunity to talk about their feelings around being separated from their loved ones in care homes due to covid and to dedicate a song to their family member.


Our facilitator spoke to relatives after the sessions, reassuring and updating them about their loved one.


During the sessions residents were able to send messages to their family members on the videos we created for them (24 videos were created with ACEERF) and wonderful conversations were had throughout the sessions with our facilitator, the resident, Pete our musician and care home staff.

Families felt calmer, less helpless and so relieved to see the family member's interaction on the film gifted to them, through the stimulation received on a one to one basis with the Juke Box Uke session.


IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN JUKEBOX UKE please contact our Artistic Director, Shelley O'Brien:

Care home staff are having a challenging time with residents with covid as well as residents deteriorating mentally due to the lack of understanding or insight into why they are no longer seeing their family member. The music sessions help bring about a calmness in the resident, an opportunity for stimulation due to the singing, discussion and reminiscence and an overall positive feeling of wellness. 

Juke Box Uke sessions provide an opportunity for residents to also  discuss concerns re covid and not seeing relatives and their day to day life and to be reassured by our facilitator who can relay information to them having spoken to their family member and vice versa.

Music making in lockdown!!



I cannot thank you enough for all the hard work and dedication you have put into this. The staff team including myself have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this, we have loved to see the interaction, reminiscence and happiness this has  brought to our residents.


 "I cried with happiness watching the videos. Thankyou so very much to everyone involved. So moving and so amazing to see responses to the music and the reminiscing and residents enjoying themselves. . Absolutely fabulous!" We need more of this for our residents!  On behalf of the Residents, families, staff, Orchard Care Homes and myself I just want to say a massive thank you for bringing this fantastic experience to Paddock Stile Manor.It has left an everlasting wonderful memory for the home. No one could fail to be moved by the impact you all had on everyone.


Our residents LOVED the session, they thoroughly enjoyed it and they all sang along and really enjoyed

themselves. They loved the personal touch of being able to choose their own songs. It was a lovely reminiscing session for them and Pete was wonderful with them & engaging. Many thanks


I think this is the best thing I’ve ever done in my career . The interaction with the residents has been lovely

and the families feedback is amazing.


t's a really positive experience coming face to face with these people and approaching a topic which is

meaningful to them, i.e. some of their favourite music. The demand was varied and I enjoyed learning a wide spectrum of music and making decisions on how best to arrange them for solo voice and ukulele.

Responses were sometimes big and demonstrative and sometimes extremely subtle, but as we know, the outer signs are not always directly proportional to the effect of the encounter. Sometimes, the faintest nod of the head would show me that the person was there in the moment, sometimes, even, just a look in their eye. The careworkers' interaction was often key, as was Bev's skill and experience.

It's unusual to have the chance of 1 to 1 live musical encounters and this is a powerful device for breaking down isolation. The use of music which is significant to a participant makes for a unique point of contact which is also available to family members. The project also involves the care workers and hopefully connects them with the participants in a different way.  The sessions were beneficial to the relationship between the care workers and the residents. It seemed to give them a change of atmosphere and a different kind of shared experience, which gave them moments of connection and closeness. Finally, and on a different tack, I am also on a bit of a crusade to demonstrate and  promote the importance of music and all the benefits it can bring to these situations.


Thankyou so much for the video. I broke my heart watching it but in a nice way. Words cannot express my

thanks.  It's fantastic.

That video is brilliant it was great to see her so happy , thanks so much

Thank you so much for the video of mam. I've laughed and cried but reassured she is happy most of the time

and doing OK. IT has been so difficult not being able to see her and give her a big hug. I'll treasure this always. 

I'm sure JUKEBOXUKE will be invaluable to families in the same situation as ourselves. I really hope you get the funding you need to continue.

This is a great project to get a video at this time of not being able to see my mam, thank you.

I feel so guilty not being there for my Mam, she will wonder where I have gone,  this is an awful time and to

see her happy on a video talking and singing is so special thank you .

I have not seen my mam since March, only my brother has as only one allowed, I miss her so much . She

will love the songs and the chat and I love to see the video and see how she looks 

I feel out of control with this virus and not seeing my mam, I’ve let her down, anything you can get for me

will be greatly appreciated so a video is wonderful.

All of our family loved the video. We hope you receive further funding to continue this work as we would

be so delighted if more families were to able to have the same wonderful experience as we have had.

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