Music for Life wins Arts and Health Research Award

On 14 October, the winners of the 7th annual Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) Arts and Health Awards received their awards at a ceremony in London.

The Awards recognise excellent creative arts initiatives which impact on health and wellbeing and this year’s focus was on the value of creative arts for older people both in the community and health and social care settings.


Research Award: Music for life project

The Music for life project, funded by the UK Research Councils’ New Dynamics of Ageing Programme (NDA), is a major research study concerned with the contribution of creative music-making in promoting the health and wellbeing of older people.

The research has made a significant contribution to the evidence supporting the impact of music-making, in social, emotional and cognitive wellbeing, offering a compassionate, creative and cost effective response to loneliness and depression in later life.

Find out more about the Music for life project.

Read about the Active Ageing with Music book launch.

Practice Award: Claremont Project

Claremont Project geared itself towards addressing loneliness, depression and mental health and wellbeing supporting older people by developing a programme centred on creative arts activities.

Their success is evident through the many older people who have become part of the Claremont experience – membership has grown from 12 members in 2002 to over 1,200 members today.


Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH said:

"I’d like to congratulate both the Claremont Project and the Music for life project on winning this year’s awards. They are both terrific examples of the difference that can be made to people’s lives through arts intervention.

"Here in the UK we’re beginning to understand what it means to live in an aging society. Loneliness, isolation and addressing complicated health disorders have put pressure on individuals, families and society to ensure people don’t lose their quality of life as they get older. Programmes like these two innovative projects prove that the creative arts can make a significant difference to health and wellbeing."

Lord Christopher Smith, who presented the awards to the winners said:

"Enjoying, experiencing, and participating in any aspect of the creative arts can be hugely important for our health, our wellbeing, and our sense of self-esteem.

"The RSPH Awards are really important in reminding us of that fundamental truth, and in helping to encourage more and better direction towards bringing the arts and health together. This year’s focus on work with older people is even more important, and I’m delighted to be able to offer my support."

Professor Susan Hallam, Music for life project:

"It is a great honour to have been awarded the RSPH Arts and Health Award. We are pleased that we have been able to make a contribution to understanding the role of music in supporting health and wellbeing in older people.

"We hope that this will have a long term impact in encouraging providers to make opportunities available for older people to sing and play instruments with others on a regular basis.

"We would like to thank all of those who contributed to our research and to the ESRC and the New Dynamics of Ageing programme for funding the research."

Paul Stanfield, Claremont Project CEO:

"We are delighted to receive this award and are pleased that it is grounded in a sound evidence base of health outcomes for those we serve.

"Bringing about genuine and lasting health improvements through the arts is not only a matter of what is on offer but how it is offered. Real friendships, the feeling that we matter to one another and a culture of aspiration are vital to physical and mental health and are at the heart of our services to older people."

Highly Commended projects

In addition to the two award winners, seven other organisations were Highly Commended.

Each has helped older people cope with difficult health conditions through creative endeavours such as music and theatre.

Highly Commended projects:

  • Plymouth Music Zone "Keep Singing, Keepsake programme"

  • Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity

  • Clare Summerskill

  • Beamish, The Living Museum of the North

  • Mind Song

  • Sing For Your Life

  • Music for Life

25 November 2014

Andrea Creech receives award on behalf of Sue Hallam and the team.

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