Updated: Jan 11
It's been a busy week for The Spitz! After our Covid tests on Monday, we sat in the garden with musicians Laurence Corns and Ben Hazleton to discuss our winter plans and some of the exciting projects up our sleeves! At 1 o’clock, four members of BSL’s care staff joined us for a socially distanced brainstorming meeting. Millie, Leyla, Gladys and Ben have all shown a lot of interest in and support for our work. We wanted to join forces, learn from each other, and come up with new activities for BSL’s residents, tailored to individual needs.
Our objectives are two-fold; to support the (stressed and exhausted) carers and give them a voice, and to ensure there are regular activities at BSL in between our visits. Our first meeting was very encouraging. The carers were thrilled to be part of our project, and grateful that their opinions were valued. Watch this space!
On Thursday Jane went back to BSL with Ben Hazleton and his Double Bass.They wandered through the different floors, playing for several residents in the dining rooms (where Ben's bass caused quite a stir), and visited bed bound residents in their rooms. Ben also played through the door of new resident D, who is in isolation. D loves jazz and appreciated our efforts; we joked that one day we would see his face! Armed with gloves, Jane was able to hand J his guitar so he could jam with Ben.
He was very engaged and watched Ben keenly throughout. G was enthralled by Ben’s classical playing. She sang along cheerfully and, with her characteristic determination, attempted to say Vivaldi. The staff seemed keen to enjoy the music too; one carer was clapping and filming in the corridor, and on the third floor Ikram said ‘please, please come into the dining room!’ Everyone was delighted to hear The Spitz would be back the following day. They all seemed in need of music, friendship and communication.
Thom and I returned on Friday morning to entertain the care home before their lunch. After our meeting on Monday we were keen to make the effort to visit residents we haven’t yet had the chance to meet properly. We visited A.K in his room. He apologised for being unable to sit up and greet us. He had heard me singing from the dining room and was thrilled we had come in to introduce ourselves. A.K put in a couple of requests and seemed extremely moved by the music:
“That really touched me, hearing you sing is very emotional....you made me cry. Beautiful.” We also went into H.L’s room, a resident we had never met before. He was unable to speak, but watched me keenly, nodded and attempted to smile. G was excited to show us the incredible improvements she'd made with her leg mobility — we promised we'd do some dancing when we come back next week! E.J and her carer Leyla were sitting with a few other residents in the dining room. The day before they had read poetry and sung together while Ben accompanied them. Leyla told us what a positive effect this had had on them: ‘What a treat, this is such a treat’- E.J.