Our Covid Summer

24th September 2020

Morning session: 

Today was National Arts in Care Homes Day (yes, really – it restores our faith in humankind that such a thing exists!) and we had a very special programme of treats in store for the music-lovers at Bridgeside Lodge.

 

Breaking from our regular Wednesday afternoon schedule, we kicked off at 11a.m. with the first of our two live acts, a North Indian classical trio led by the hugely respected and phenomenally gifted vocal and harmonium master Nawazish. The Spitz were introduced to Nawazish’s work through his pupil Laurence, one of our most regular singer-guitarists. Also accompanying Nawazish was regular Spitz bassist Ben who delighted residents with his unexpected multi-instrumentalist talent for the tabla!

 

A new cold snap confirming summer’s now definitely over after last week’s unseasonal heat, made it hard for many of the residents to spend as long as they’d have liked outdoors (although we did get plenty of waves and smiles from upper balconies.) The upside is that this way we got a chance to chat in-depth to those who braved the cold. I had a wonderful long chat with Sadiq, a gentleman whose wife Gida is a bedbound resident. He showed me a video on his phone of her response to the music, moving her foot along in time! He gave me a much deeper insight into the trauma of recent months at the home and the many friends they’ve lost. I asked him if life feels any easier now, and he explained that it’s more like developing a rhythm, living day by day and treasuring moments like this one. I asked what our weekly sessions mean to him and his wife – “more than you know,” he said. “They give us hope.”

 

In the band’s break Tanya played violin to guests through their windows who chatted with and clapped her from their rooms, taking requests including Schubert’s beautiful Ave Maria. This morning’s show was a complete departure from the classic jazz, swing and early pop repertoire we typically bring. It’s so important to us that everyone has access to continue discovering and exploring new styles and sound worlds, regardless of age, and the reactions of the residents who joined us certainly suggest they feel the same.

By Ursula Sagar

 

Afternoon:

 

The threat of rain became unignorable during our lunch break and we had a four piece band booked for the afternoon, so unfortunately BSL’s gazebo was too small. Luckily, we were able to adapt and ensure the show could go on! Thom covered the PAs, mixers, and electricals with waterproofs and the musicians were happy to huddle under the shelter of the 1st floor balcony for cover.

 

We had Arthur Lea on the keyboards, Laurence Corns on the guitar, Ben Hazleton on the double bass, and Wesley Gibbens on the drums. They played a wonderful mixture of jazz, swing, and BSL favourites (including several residents’ songs.) Although most of the audience members were sitting in the common rooms and watching through the windows, we were reassured that they could hear the music quite clearly. Gerard attempted to brave the chilly weather, as he always loves our sessions, but in the end he contented himself with bringing his armchair right up the window and having tea and biscuits in Covid’s equivalent of a front row seat!

 

Visitors were allowed to sit in the common room to visit their loved ones. They wore extensive PPE and were socially distanced, but all seemed agreed that this kind of visit was better than nothing. English Jane’s nephew sat with Jane and Gerard as the two friends enjoyed the music. He told us afterwards that Jane had instantly perked up when the musicians started: “It was really wonderful to watch.” Another family visitor joked with us as she left saying: “I might time my next visit for when The Spitz isn’t scheduled. Mum was more interested in the music than in me!

 

A member of staff took one of our iPads into residents’ bedrooms and the band were able to play to them through our second iPad outside. John was particularly pleased, and we could hear him singing along to his favourite Frank Sinatra songs, clapping and saying hello to the musicians! Towards the end we thought we had a keen new audience member, as Tom-Tom the Center’s cat sat staring at the musicians for about 10 minutes! We soon realised that he hadn’t developed an appreciation for music though — it turned out his food bowl was under Wesley’s chair!

By Kate Millett

 

16th September 2020

The Spitz team arrived today to a perfect day for outdoor music-making – gloriously blue and warm but not too hot to keep the residents inside. I myself was hugely frustrated to be housebound with a sore throat today, not wanting to take any risks, so along with the BSL contingent enjoying the concert from their rooms I tuned in on Facebook Live. Thom does a great job making sure the sound and image quality of the stream’s top notch, but I can only imagine how much these sessions must mean to the residents given how sorely I'm missing my own weekly music dose. The musicians meanwhile laughed about the lighter side of Covid’s effects on the music world as they struggled to agree which day of the week it was!

 

Today we welcomed a fantastic pair of fresh faces to BSL – Adam Bridges on keys and Jo Rotunno on vocals – for a set ranging from toe-tapping jazz standards to classic swing and Latin tunes, fondly remembered and warmly received by today’s guests. Jo has a beautifully authentic jazz voice straight off a 78rpm record, resonant of greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, and transported us straight to the smoky salons and dance halls of 1930s-50s Manhattan with a thoughtfully selected seasonal and sunshine theme. Tunes included Sunny, Autumn Leaves, Bing Crosby classic Pennies from Heaven, Irving Berlin’s buoyant Blue Skies, and later the smouldering Summertime, all perfect for the setting. In the end we had a lovely big crowd of 15-20 residents enjoying the music outside, who left the band in no doubt of where their tastes lay, enthusiastically shouting “more jazz!” when asked if they fancied a change. As the clock hit 4p.m. the called for one more song, and the duo were happy to oblige, rounding up with a glittering rendition of Billie Holliday’s Lover Come Back To Me, a final tribute to the blue skies above. Adam and Jo received the stamp of approval from Spitz stalwart Gerard, who came over afterwards to tell Thom how excellent he thought the music had been.

By Ursula Sagar

 

9th September 2020

The residents were out in force today as the weather held out for a lovely afternoon of music in the garden of Bridgeside Lodge, with the wonderful Laurence Corns on guitar and voice, a regular at Spitz, and the formidable Paddy Milner on keyboard and voice. Paddy's one of the country's most respected blues and boogie-woogie pianists and leads the house blues band at Ronnie Scott's, as well as playing for Tom Jones, so we knew we were in for a treat! 

 

Laurence kicked us off with a gypsy swing classic he’d appropriately renamed Coffee and Bagels, having just upended his espresso over his otherwise beautifully dapper suit, which raised a lot of laughs. Arthur, Henry and Billy were ready and waiting for kick-off, and soon Sharon, a lady with Down's Syndrome, recently arrived at BSL, joined Tanya for a boogie on the lawn! Hot on their heels came a steady flow of listeners including music-lovers Gerard and Sarah, who told us they were excited to hear the songs they'd composed with Laurence and Arthur in recent months. The boys covered a really wide range of repertoire from ‘20s through ‘60s and everything in between, with Paddy’s sparkling finger-twisters and Laurence’s beautiful singing and scatting rewarded with loud applause from both sides of the canal.

 

I spent a lovely hour with Gillian, and her son David who told us he'd rarely seen her so animated. Gillian has a speech disorder and it was remarkable to see how her vocabulary had improved as we sang along with the lyrics of a full verse of I Got Rhythm, unthinkable a few months ago. David wrote a series of words in coloured pens for her to copy, and she added one of her own, 'love', which she showed us with a cheeky wink. Arthur and English Jane told us how in their twenties they would go dancing every Saturday night at Shoreditch Town Hall to tunes like those playing now. We chatted about Arthur's huge LP collection and I couldn't agree more when he said he believed these songs would last forever – that “it’s music which keeps us all going right now”. Afterwards many of the guests came up to thank the band for their lovely playing, and Arthur told me if he were courting me he’d be doing it to this kind of music. It’s the most romantic thing I’ve heard all year!

 

By Ursula Sagar 

4th September 2020

Hangout/ Songwriting

 

Our hang out music session at Bridgeside Lodge on the 4th of September was very special. Tanya played a varied set, from classical to pop. Although there was a cold wind, a couple of residents were happy to sit outside with us, and more enjoyed the music from the common room. Tanya walked around the outside of the building and played through the resident's windows. English Jane had been sitting at her table when Tanya started playing, but soon moved closer to the window and ended up lying on her bed listening.

 

Gillian was recognising songs, singing along, urging Tanya on, and dancing with her arms and legs. It was her reactions to certain songs which made the event so magical. She started crying during Adele’s ‘Make you feel my love’ and when I asked her why she was crying she just closed her eyes and said: “I don’t know, it’s beautiful.” The music was touching her very profoundly. Surprisingly, her favourite piece was Stormzy’s ‘Blinded by your Grace.’ She was laughing and shouting “Wow, wow” for the whole song. I think it’s fair to say Stormzy has a new fan!

 

Soon we had all forgotten about the chilly wind. Staff danced from the balconies, and more residents came out into the garden. Henry was happy to conduct Tanya’s playing, especially to the classical pieces. He is a bit hard of hearing and doesn’t seem to hear people talking very well. Interestingly, he appears to have no problem hearing the music! Maybe the high tone of the violin helps. At the end he told us how much he’d enjoyed the afternoon, and: “You’ve really made my day.”

 

Written by Kate Millett

2nd September 2020

 

When we arrived at Bridgeside Lodge for our next scheduled music event this week, Fatma, the Center Manager, told us it had been a difficult morning for some of the residents. We were eager to raise their spirits, but were concerned that the chilly wind would deter many from coming down into the garden. Luckily, Thom had brought an extra PA system which a member of the BSL staff brought up to the second floor, so the music could float through the corridors and reach more people without them having to leave the warmth of their rooms.

 

Marcina and Brian’s beautiful music provided a lovely distraction for the wider community too. Many of the local passersby on the canal path stopped to listen and wave over at us. House-boat owners sat out to watch, and the workers re-asphalting the road outside (one of whom even put in a couple of song requests) were able to listen as they worked! Brian’s saxophone was also a big hit with Irish Jane. She said it made her think of jazz bars and cocktails!

 

We were very pleased to see that one family member, who had come to visit his mother, decided to stay for a while after his mother had gone back in. He seemed happy to enjoy the music and have a moment to relax. Sarah also seemed to be very relaxed. During the interval, we played her some of the songs. After asking her how they made her feel she said: “All sorts of emotions. Sometimes I cry. But mostly I listen to the words and think about how these things have really happened to me.” She is then able to sleep with a clear mind. The success of Sarah’s love of her songs (“I’m so glad we wrote them”) and the emotional journey they’ve helped her along is something we hope we can do with many other residents at BSL.

 

Written by Kate Millett

26th August 2020

 

There was a definite autumnal feel in the air at our event on the 26th of August, which led us to contemplate the summer of weekly music sessions we had been fortunate enough to put on. When we returned to BSL post- lockdown, understandably there was a lot of suppressed stress, anger and confusion. Our aim was to support their well-being and help them process their experiences. The result has been incredibly rewarding. Wonderful friendships have emerged, the community spirit has strengthened, and there have been clear improvements in mental health. It’s impossible to ignore how important these improvements are, and we are determined to continue our visits - despite the winds!

 

Jane was thrilled and excited to be able to listen to her newly written song during the interval. She laughed as the verse about her husband came up and reached out to hold my hand. Normally a more reserved woman, Jane thanked me with a huge smile on her face.

 

Another resident who spoke about the therapeutic benefits of our songwriting was Sarah. Thanks to the app Band Lab, she is able to listen to her music whenever she wants. Sarah told us that she listens to all her songs every single night. She said that now that her thoughts have been put into music she feels a sense of freedom and release. She tried to describe this feeling to us as: "something sitting on my chest...but in a good way!" Sarah's story is a very sad one, so any improvements we can help with means so much.

 

Written by Kate Millett

21st August 2020

Hangout/ Songwriting

 

Over the past few months The Spitz has grown accustomed to musicking in Bridgeside Lodge’s garden in all different weathers. Our hangout songwriting session on Friday the 21st of August was accompanied by strong and blustery winds. With a bit of adapted teamwork (including Tanya alternating between being a music stand and a camera woman) we had a lovely morning, wonderful chats with staff and residents, and a potential new song to write.

 

Jane was very keen to join us again. She seemed to have a lovely relationship with her carer Leyla and the two of them sat with us for the whole session. Between songs we would chat all about Jane’s life (from childhood to marriage.) She was very interested by my suggestion of writing a song about her life, and said she looked forward to hearing it next time.

 

Having a smaller audience meant we had the freedom to focus on individuals, including BSL staff. Often the staff are so busy that we don’t get a chance to sit down and really talk to them. Leyla, Jane’s carer, was clearly very interested in music and we often heard her helping Jane to remember tunes she liked. Leyla also told us a bit about her experiences in the height of the pandemic. She said: “To be honest I really lost all hope. There was so much death and so much sadness everyday.”

 

Her words were raw and heartfelt. Although things are much better now, the trauma is still there. She went on to say that the support they all gave each other helped them get through it. We told her our aim is to support BSL’s staff as well as the residents. She loved our ‘Clap for Carers’ videos and said: “I always look forward to your visits.”

Written by Kate Millett

 

20th August 2020

 

Our Spitz concert on the 19th of August had to be postponed due to a day of non-stop rain. Luckily musicians Najwa and Matteo were flexible and able to join us the following morning instead. The weather couldn’t have been more different, and as the sun came out, so did the residents, staff and passersby on the canal path! It felt like we were part of a community celebration or holiday; full of cheer, music and dancing —a wonderful distraction from reality.

Social distancing restrictions have made it very difficult for performers to include and have personal connections with their listeners, but Najwa skillfully overcame these barriers. Residents such as Kayode and David, who don’t normally dance, were moving their arms and legs, encouraged by Najwa’s rhythm. The music was working it’s magic!

 

Gerard was given a special rendition of his song ‘Jacko’, which the musicians had learnt especially for him. Najwa is French Moroccan, so she was able to sing the song perfectly. Gerard was thrilled and took Najwa to visit Jacko’s grave on the side of BSL’s garden. Najwa said it was a wonderful experience and that she was extremely touched and honoured.

 

Written by Kate Millett

14th August 2020

Hangout/ Songwriting

 

Although the weather had turned, we were lucky enough to dodge the rain clouds for our morning songwriting session at Bridgeside Lodge on the 14th of August. Tanya Cracknell was leading the session on the violin, and came prepared to suit everybody’s musical tastes. It was a lovely morning and a good opportunity to get to know some of the new residents.

 

There were two Janes in the audience, which created some amusement. ‘English Jane’ had already been to a few of our Spitz events. We knew that she loves classical music and she was so touched that Tanya had gone to the effort of preparing some classical pieces for her. I could see her smiling as she closed her eyes, absorbing the music and humming along.

 

Sarah was thrilled that Tanya could play some of her favourite pop songs; by artists such as Beyonce, Ed Sheeran and Alicia Keys. As one of the youngest residents, Sarah often feels a bit removed at BSL so this was refreshing for her. She is one of the most involved in our Spitz programmes and has written the most songs with us. We joked that she could practically release her own album with us now. When asked what she would call it she said: “A Day in the Life of Bridgeside Lodge.”

 

Written by Kate Millett

12th August 2020

 

To accommodate the rainy weather forecast, we had our first morning event on the 12th of August. We were concerned that the early hour might affect the size of the audience (many residents sleep through the morning). However, we were pleasantly surprised! There was a big turn out, including several residents who don’t usually join our events.

 

Musicians Laurence Corns and Marcus Bonfanti know Bridgeside Lodge well. They played sunny themed (weather appropriate) jazz, blues and swing songs, but also took requests. One request was from Kent, who is new to BSL. He told me that he used to be the drummer in a band. His request was ‘Mustang Sally’ which Marcus said is the perfect song for a drummer. Kent’s demeanour was transformed. He had been sitting quietly at the back of the audience with his head down, but was soon upright, smiling and engaged.

 

Memory is another thing music can stimulate. I spoke to Rita, a resident originally from Dublin, about Ireland and her favourite music. She said that for her, music is very meaningful: “When I listen to music I think of my son. He loved music, so I always imagine him.” She later told me that many of her family members had died, leading me to suspect that maybe her son was no longer alive. Although this wasn’t confirmed, the music had still done a powerful thing by helping her feel close to her loved one.

 

Written by Kate Millett 

5th August 2020

 

We had Arthur Lea and Alice Zawadzki return to Bridgeside Lodge on the 5th of August for the second week in a row. Repetition often brings positive results among care home communities and, sure enough, many of the residents recognised Alice and were thrilled to see the two musicians back again.

 

A BSL member of staff took one of the iPads inside the care home and the concert continued on FaceTime for residents who weren’t well enough to come down. He went from bedroom to bedroom on each of the floors and residents such as Jeffery and Jeeda were able to enjoy the music. It makes a big difference for them to know that we haven’t forgotten about them.

 

We always know it’s a good event when the dancing starts! While watching two members of staff dancing, we started chatting to Henry. He told us how much he loved dancing and music. He’s from the Fiji islands, and before he lost a leg in a motorbike accident he said he used to dance every day. It's something he misses, but he's grateful he can still listen to music. He said: “If I could, I would be up there dancing till the music stopped.”

Written by Kate Millett

 

3rd August 2020

Hangout/ Songwriting

 

“I’ve made many great friends through music”: were some wise words from Jane, one of Bridgeside Lodge’s newest residents. She was happy to join our songwriting session on the 3rd of August, and enjoyed the uplifting songs of Laurence Corns. Our songwriting music sessions are focused on the care home residents. We chat to them, take song requests, hear their stories and (if they are up for it) help to shape their words into songs.

 

Once engaged in conversation, one resident, Arthur, began to tell us about the “stack of records” he had at home. After that there was no stopping him! He described his life as a French polisher in Shoreditch and the many changes he’d seen London go through. He reflected: “You live your life, and if you can’t talk about it, what’s the point? It keeps your memory fresh.” He was thrilled when Laurence suggested we write a song about his experiences. Quick as anything, he came up with the title: ‘Shiner.’

 

As we moved around the garden chatting to different people and playing songs, Gerard followed. He was so happy that the Spitz were visiting again: “It really brightens up my day.” He began to tell us about the adventures he used to go on as a boy. At the age of 15 he cycled to Stockholm. We thought this would make a wonderful song and Gerard was very pleased. A new project and something to look forward to brought out a lovely smile on his face.

Written by Kate Millett

 

29th July 2020

 

Another lovely afternoon was spent at Bridgeside Lodge on the 29th of July, in wonderful company and listening to great music. Alice Zawadski, 2020’s Jazz FM Voicalist of the year nominee, sang and played the violin with Arthur Lea on the keyboards. The level of engagement from the audience, combined with how well the musicians worked together and the beautiful weather made it one of our most memorable post-lockdown events.

 

A particularly special moment was when Leslie, one of BSL’s resident’s, stood up to request a song. Leslie is rarely an audience member at Spitz events. She walks in and out, but is easily agitated and irritated so doesn’t usually get involved. We were also thrilled to have John well enough to come down into the garden for the whole session. He brought his guitar again and said: “I’ve been keeping my guitar polished. Even though it’s not getting much use at the moment, I want it to be looking its best.”

 

It was wonderful to witness how close the community was. The staff have a genuine affection for the residents, give excellent care, and are on very friendly terms with family visitors. One visitor was thrilled that she had coincided her visit with a Spitz gig. Sadly her mum has very advanced Dementia and her visits can be difficult. She told us: “Mum is getting less and less responsive, but having live music to listen to helps on many levels.” When her mum did come down to the garden we saw her smile of recognition and a touching reunion.

 

Written by Kate Millett 

22nd July 2020

 

There was a particularly peaceful vibe at our Spitz/ Bridgeside Lodge event on the 22nd of July. Brian and Marcina took us on a journey with their set of haunting Brazilian tunes and melodic jazz. Brian complimented the already sleepy atmosphere by the canal by warming up his saxophone facing onto the lock. It even lured over two women floating in a rubber dinghy, who stayed for the whole gig and said they felt they’d been: “drawn over by the pied piper!”

 

Billy and Sarah, BSL’s sweethearts, were in their usual front row seats. They happily soaked up the music, the sun, and their new love. Last week, Sarah helped Billy write a song with Arthur called “He’s in it to Win it.” During a break for the musicians, we managed to play the song’s first draft through the PA system. Billy was grinning ear to ear. It was so touching to hear him telling Sarah that we were playing “their song.” Tanya noticed how much more open and confident he had become. It was like he had a newfound voice and was proud of it.

 

Marcina encouraged her audience to feel the music in our bodies and move with it. It was amazing to watch Gillian, who has recently started to regain a bit of movement in her right arm, being encouraged by the music to try to use it in her dancing. Seeing these transformations never fails to be deeply moving — a reminder of why we do this vital work.

Written by Kate Millett

 

10th July 2020

 

Our gig at Bridgeside Lodge on Friday 10th of July was the busiest event we’ve put on so far since returning to work post lockdown. Resident’s families are finally able to come and visit their loved ones again, and our concert accompanied their reunions. For one new resident, who sat smiling quietly in the sunshine with his family, it was the first trip outside his room since arriving.

 

Arthur Lea and Henrik Jensen played a mixture of Bridgeside Lodge favourites; songs written by residents, and rock and blues classics. Gerard, one of the newer residents, had experienced a loss that week. His beautiful pet bird and much loved companion Jacko had died. Arthur played Gerard the song they had written about him the week before. It was very moving. Afterwards, Gerard said philosophically: “The dead don’t come back, but the memory stays.” Jacko’s musical legacy was not only therapeutic for Gerard in his grief, but was also a mark of our friendship and the support we aim to give.

 

The Spitz have begun a collaboration with Islington Bereavement Services (IBS) who joined us for the first time at this event. Their employee Gareth circulated very effectively in just the hour that he was there — including chatting to Susan Talbot who's husband died just before Christmas.

 

James, a BSL member of staff, took one of our Spitz iPad’s through the building while the gig played through Facetime. Bedbound residents were then able to be part of the afternoon. John was able to watch the gig from his bed and between songs could be heard clapping and saying “thank you, thank you”.

Written by Kate Millett

 

1st July 2020

 

“This is just like Glastonbury'' laughed Frede, BSL’s Centre Administrator, as heavy rain accompanied our next event. Sheltered under BSL’s gazebo, or “The Pyramid Stage” as it was dubbed, blues and jazz musicians Laurence Corns and Marcus Bonfanti were not to be deterred and played a wonderful gig.

 

We split our PA system so that one speaker was just inside BSL’s common room entrance, allowing the residents and staff perfect audio without any of the cold or rain. Residents and carers joined the audience downstairs, or looked out of their windows, clapping along to the incredible guitar solos. Across the canal there were even local passersby, huddled under the trees, who couldn’t help but stop and appreciate the music. Laurence reminded us that this was probably the only (legal) live music gig currently available in the whole country!

 

As lockdown continues to loosen, it’s easy for some of us to begin to put the past few months behind us, however, for many vulnerable communities who have been terribly affected, such as BSL, it is an ongoing nightmare. Fatma, the Centre Manager told us on Wednesday how valuable our visits are: “Having The Spitz back is so very encouraging. For the staff, it has finally given us a sense of hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel!”

 

Written by Kate Millett

 

29th June 2020

Hangout/ Songwriting

 

Our first post-lockdown Spitz Songwriting session felt quite autumnal. But, although the weather was against us we were sure we would uncover some potential songs among the residents or staff. Covid has been an unprecedented time of complex emotions — isolation, depression, confusion and death. Music and songwriting with The Spitz are effective ways for residents and staff alike to express themselves and process what they are feeling.

 

The sound of Arthur Lea on the piano soon brought some residents down to the garden. Sarah, who has previously written five songs with the Spitz, told us about the swimming pool therapy she had to help her regain the use of her leg. This inspired the start of a new song, based around the dream-like image of walking in water. Reflecting on her past and putting it into art was therapeutic for Sarah.

 

Gerard was another keen participant. The combination of stories from his interesting life, and his friendship with his pet bird Jacko, was an opportunity for The Spitz’s first French song! We played around with Parisian chords and struggled with French lyrics (Jacko happily rhymes with the French for bird - oiseau), efforts which Gerard said were “touching.”

 

Even though adapting to Covid safe ways of working meant that we didn’t see as many residents, the work that we did do that day was powerful for everyone involved. We have two new songs to work on with two different residents — a unifying project. Sarah’s genuinely heart-felt thanks at the end of her session and Gerard’s shy positivity were definitely worth getting a little bit rained on!

Written by Kate Millett

 

24th June 2020

 

On the hottest day of the year so far, we returned to Bridgeside Lodge’s garden for a canal side concert with musicians Dom Pipkin and Graham Hughes. It felt like all of our Covid cancelled summer holidays had come to us as residents and staff sat under bright yellow umbrellas (coincidentally the same colour as the Spitz banner), and locals sat along the canal path sunbathing and enjoying the concert.

 

A busker on the canal path was playing as we set up. When we popped over to apologise for interrupting his session he said he’d seen our banner and already googled The Spitz: “I can see what you guys do is something magic and inspiring. I couldn’t compete with that!” It was wonderful to get an outside perspective on our events.

 

Many of the residents who weren’t able to come down to the garden danced on the balconies and waved down to us. John, who had been taking guitar lessons pre-lockdown with The Spitz, brought his guitar down and sat grinning from ear to ear, plucking it’s strings.

 

Billy, who has only been at Bridgeside Lodge for a couple of weeks, told us that he is a huge jazz fan: “Before I came here, my favourite thing to do on a Saturday was pop down to my local for a beer and listen to their live jazz. This afternoon is as close to that as I can hope for and I’ve really enjoyed it.” Bringing back the comfort of those memories is an important part of our work. We want to ease the trauma caused by isolation and loss, and thus promote well-being.

 

Written by  Kate Millett

 

 

19th June 2020

 

The sun finally came out for our first post-lockdown outdoor music session at Bridgeside Lodge (BSL) on the 19th of June. Led by Arthur on the keyboards and Tanya on the violin, the residents and staff enjoyed a few hours of music and singing. However, as we attempted socially distanced conversation it became apparent that the recent and ongoing trauma of Covid-19 and lockdown would not be easily forgotten.

 

Fatma Makalo, the Centre Manager, said the past few months had been overwhelmingly lonely. Having The Spitz back, albeit in an adapted, experimental setting, was a comfort and support to the staff. Fatma told us how much they had missed us: “both your work and your friendship is invaluable.”

 

BSL welcomed eight new residents in the past few weeks. It has been much more difficult for these residents to settle in and transition into care home life without the comfort of regular family visitors. Our music session helped to unify the community as new residents came out into the garden for the first time and met their neighbours. Gerard, one new resident, told us that when he heard the music from the 3rd floor balcony, it was the first time he felt able to come downstairs and join in: “I’ve found it hard to make friends so far, but there is something special and inviting about live music. Today it’s brought us all together.”

 

The BSL family needs our music, support and help now more than ever to heal, recover and remember happier times. Olive, a resident who has often taken part in our activities, told us that these sessions are much more than just a break and distraction for them: “Sitting here in the garden among the flowers, listening to the music and occasional birdsong, I can close my eyes and imagine I’m back at home.”

Written by Kate Millett

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The Spitz Charitable Trust 

Charity Number 1155033