Everyday People, based in North Manchester, is a community organisation that aims to increase the wellbeing of people and communities through the use of creative arts.

The group mainly runs its activities from the local Miners Community Arts and Music Centre in Moston, which is a great community hub.

Everyday People offers the opportunity for local residents to try their hand at various creative activities. Since 2015 they have worked with older people and ran projects in partnership with local sheltered housing schemes.

The group has had great success with using music and dance with older people, particularly those with dementia, to get them active and, most importantly, smiling.

Anthony Bradley, Director of Everyday People, explains that the activities add a bit of vibrancy and quality to their lives: “It’s an incredible privilege to engage with and put smiles on the faces of people, getting them up dancing and singing with old tunes. It’s such a rewarding thing to do and it’s something I hope to do more of, getting more people involved from the local community.”

As well as these music and dance sessions, Everyday People has been working with older people in Moston, hosting remembrance sessions. Each of these start with picture and trivia quizzes, and the group uses a variety of themes designed to stimulate conversation and bring up good memories, like film and TV, music, food and school. The group encourages the sharing of old photos, triggering memories and stories for people to share. This encourages their memory and brings back happy times for individuals.

The group uses ‘reminiscence boxes’ and has a collection of local research material designed to trigger happy memories of old and generate lively, fun discussion within groups. Each session is closed with a game of ‘Name That Tune’. The group has found that the music has a really positive effect on the mood of many participants especially when they do song requests.

One beneficiary from the Everyday People group, Mark, attends the ‘Happy Days’ project at Victoria Court in Openshaw. Mark is disabled and because of his disability, isn’t able to get out much. Mark is also younger than the other residents so this leaves him quite isolated. Since starting the project, Mark has been able to get to know the other residents better by chatting about childhood memories, local memories and sharing photographs.

Mark didn’t want the project to end and felt it made a difference to the quality of his life over the seven-week course.