Spirit of 2012 today announces ten projects to receive an award from its £1.9million Carers’ Music Fund, jointly funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The Carers’ Music Fund targets women and girls who are isolated because of their caring responsibilities. The 10 projects will engage them in music activities with the aim of reducing loneliness, improving their mental health and wellbeing. 

The ten projects – seven of which are in England, with one each in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – vary hugely in their approaches to engaging female carers. In Birmingham, Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), through partnerships with Midland Mencap and Quench Arts, will engage with a range of existing groups who focus on areas such as mental health, disability and specific cultural communities, while also trying to reach those who may not consider themselves to be carers.

New mothers in rural locations outside Inverness, including recently arrived Syrian refugees, will work with Feis Rois to write lullabies for their babies which will be professionally recorded.

And in Hull and East Riding, My Pockets will work with mixed groups of carers around the theme of ‘Monster Extraction’ – supporting them to identify, and banish, their personal ‘monsters’ through music.

“The Carers’ Music Fund puts women and girls with caring responsibilities front and centre, offering them opportunities to be creative and to connect with others. We look forward to making a difference to their lives, and to showing the value and impact of taking part in something worthwhile, communal – and fun,” says Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive, Spirit of 2012.

Women make up the majority of carers in the UK: according to Carers UK, The Census shows that 58% of carers are female, with the figure rising to 60% for those who are caring for 50 hours or more each week.

“We are delighted to have helped select these ten fantastic music projects that will help women and girls with caring responsibilities develop new friendships and look after their personal wellbeing.”, said Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, “Caring for someone can be demanding and often carers feel isolated, putting their own personal needs behind those of their loved ones. These projects will enable carers to take time for themselves and get creative.”

Eight out of 10 carers say they have felt socially isolated because of their caring responsibilities according to Carers UK, and based to ONS figures carers are 22% more likely to experience mental ill health than the general population.

“Music is a fantastic way of reaching women and girls who are left feeling isolated by their caring responsibilities,” says Minister for Civil Society Baroness Barran. “This £1.9million government and National Lottery investment will bring women together from across the UK, helping them to share their experiences, make new friends and get creative.”

Spirit of 2012 received £1.5million from the Government’s Tampon Tax fund, to which it added £400,000 to create the Carers’ Music Fund. In addition to the ten projects, the Fund will also pay for a detailed evaluation of their impact, delivered by the What Works Centre for Wellbeing – this learning will be shared at a summit in March 2021.

Alongside the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, Carers’ UK will sit on a steering group in order to advise on the programme.

The ten funded projects will get underway next month, and run through to December 2020, followed by a three-month evaluation period. All projects must enable disabled and non-disabled people to participate as equals.

The 10 organisations funded by the Carers’ Music Fund are:

Blackpool Carers Centre, Jack Drum Arts, Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), My Pockets, Noise Solution, Northamptonshire Carers, UK Youth, Oh Yeah Music, Feis Rois and Barnardo’s

Projects will run until December 2020, following by a three-month evaluation period up to the end of March 2021.