We were established by David Oliver and Peter Crockett together with staff and users at the London Borough of Islington’s New Park Day Centre as an unconstituted trust called Music for People in 2006. We took talented mental health service user musicians to perform in care homes and day centres for older people.
In 2009 we achieved charitable status and in 2012 began providing exercise classes, again in care homes and day centres but also in the community.
We decided to change the name to better reflect what we were now doing and became Healthy Generations in 2013.
What we do….
We reduce isolation and improve health and well-being. The majority of our users are older people.
We provide events, sessions and classes. Before lockdown we were doing over 140 a month. We are now back up to this level but the vast majority is online and mostly exercise classes.
Before lockdown we were doing about 50/50 music and exercise but because most of the music took place in care homes and day centres with many of the oldest, most vulnerable groups, everything stopped.
However, our exercise classes were mostly in the community in partnership with libraries and community centres and attracted the ‘younger’ old who have fewer problems going online.
We have maintained our friendships and partnerships with all the organisations we used to work with and fully expect to restart most of the classes we used to do in live settings, although we will keep a strong online presence.
We have attracted a much wider group of users since lockdown many who said they would continue to come to online classes after lockdown but wouldn’t come to live classes.
Our long-term aim is to maintain a relationship with these more isolated people and ensure we are able to continue providing them with a service.
How we do it….
We are good at providing sustainable, long-term classes and events. We have never had to close a class due to lack of funding. We have built up unrestricted funding so we can start a class immediately and keep it going until we find funding. We can also run pilot classes for and with partner organisations to see if there is a demand or need.
Before lockdown all our classes were live held in care homes, day centres, libraries, community centres and housing schemes. In February 2020 we ran 147 events reduced to zero on March 20th.
We immediately began putting classes online, completely changing our mode of delivery and slowly built classes up. By September 2020 we were back up to over 130 although the majority are now exercise and digital classes.
Digital exclusion has become an important area since lockdown and we are doing everything we can to help people get online.