Garden of Music

Garden of Music (GoM) exists to address inequalities and advocate for musical inclusion. They believe that everyone is musical and should have lifelong access and opportunities to both music making and music education. As a Community Music Organisation, they endorse the Social Model of Disability which helps to identify and remove the many physical, attitudinal and societal barriers to accessing educational and recreational musical opportunities. They work with disabled children, young people and adults, including those who experience difficulties in attending traditional, formal music lessons and sessions, working face to face and online. ommunity development is at the core of their work. Garden of Music aims to build partnerships and through a collaborative approach, work towards developing new, accessible and inclusive musical opportunities, for everyone in the community.

Mentor: Bolster Community

The organisation is a registered ‘Playlist for Life’ Help-Point. Playlist for Life is a Scottish charity which provides a unique, personalised playlist to people living dementia and equips their carers to know how to use it. The personalised playlists reduce anxiety and low mood in dementia patients and evoke memories that can help families and carers connect.

Garden of Music’s Elevate project was to engage with eight people living with dementia and l work with them and their families and carers to develop individual playlists to support quality of life and wellbeing. This involved two training sessions with local care homes, four monthly help-point sessions to support people make the playlists and one-to-one support with families to support their use of the playlists.


Garden of Music found the mentoring to be incredibly helpful in identifying areas of potential within the organisation. Jacinta, their mentor, connected them with some local organisations which helped build their profile in the local area. A major benefit of the programme was a connection that came through networking with another Elevate mentee - Crisis Café in Newry. They shared ethos in developing inclusion, youth voice and opportunities for young people, who are experiencing poor mental health. As a result of this new connection, they submitted a joint funding application to develop a project in Newry, bringing young people from all communities together through art. Although the application was not successful, it has embedded a partnership that has already seen joint events for young people in Newry.

The Playlist for Life project received some incredible feedback from families on the impact it had. One family said that when their mother’s carers visit, they use the playlist and sing along during the visit. Their mother is more calm and able to join in with everyone else. One person told us her husband listens to his playlist using wireless headphones when in the car, which he enjoys, and it also stops him from wandering. During a home visit, with the playlist on, a son saw a ‘light up’ moment in his father – a special, shared time that they both were able to connect over.

“The Elevate Mentoring Programme was an excellent opportunity to broaden our knowledge around Community Development and meet other local organisations. I found the Elevate training and group discussions around health inequalities with other mentee organisations very refreshing, which resulted in making new connections and a local collaboration. The Elevate team are such a friendly, supportive and professional team.”

Gary Day, Director, Garden of Music