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 and digital exclusion classes, again in care homes and day centres and also in the community.
We became Healthy Generations in 2013 to better describe our overall aim to promote inclusion and improve health and well being and our growing programme of exercise classes.
What We Do
We promote inclusion, reduce isolation and improve health and well-being. We work mainly with older people and mental health service users although our classes are open to everyone and we also provide classes for other user groups. We are good at keeping classes going long-term; sustainability and therefore reliability, something isolated people can rely on is a major aim.
We provide events, sessions and classes in three main areas:- Exercise, Music and Digital. During lockdown we took all of our services online and as lockdown came to an end and we began going back into care homes and day centres which has doubled the number of events we do each month.
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, music more or less 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 worked with before lockdown and are back providing live in-person services for nearly all of them and also a lot of new partners.
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. Online classes are here to stay.
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 2020.
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. We are now as of April 2022 running 270 events per month.
Digital inclusion has become an important area since lockdown and we are doing everything we can to help people get online.