Yorkshire Dance has announced a major new project, called In Mature Company, taking dance and live music into care homes around Leeds.

The Leeds-based dance development organisation for the Yorkshire region will work with nine care homes between now and March 2021, starting with Halcyon Court (Hyde Park), The Grove (Pudsey) and Knowle Manor (Morley).

In Mature Company is designed to explore the impact of dance and live music in reducing the loneliness and isolation of people living with dementia. Its newly-recruited team of six musicians and dance artists will lead up to 180 sessions per year.

The programme will look specifically at the impact of touch as a therapeutic element of dance, and will include movement, singing, storytelling and conversation. Residents’ families, friends and local volunteers are enthusiastically encouraged to join in.

The project will also use Dementia Care Mapping™ – a recognised approach to achieving person-centred care and improving the quality of life for people living with dementia – to help the team understand the impact of their sessions.

Designed at the University of Bradford, Dementia Care Mapping™ involves observing how people living with dementia spend their time, their levels of mood and engagement, and the types and quality of interactions they have.

Yorkshire Dance’s two newly-trained “mappers” will have a clear understanding of the residents experiences, which will allow them to see what is working well and where there are aspects of the dance and music sessions which better engage the participants.

The project will be delivered through a range of one-to-one sessions for people within their own rooms, small group sessions and larger group sessions in communal spaces in the care homes.

Hannah Robertshaw, Programmes Director of Yorkshire Dance, says, “We’re thrilled to be launching In Mature Company this month. It’s a really important addition to the range of work we’ve been developing with older adults in recent years, all over Yorkshire.

“We’ve taken primary school children into care homes in Sheffield to dance with the residents. We’ve led a two-year programme called Young at Arts which tackled social isolation in Leeds by engaging older adults with a range of creative arts activities. We’ve developed a long-running partnership with the University of Leeds to study the health and well-being benefits of dance for older adults.

And most importantly, we’ve created hundreds of opportunities for older adults to come together and have a joyful experience of being and moving together.

There’s a huge appetite nationwide for artistic work which genuinely engages people living with dementia, and Yorkshire Dance is very proud to be among the organisations at the forefront of this work.”

In Mature Company is a three-year project, part of Time to Shine, a six-year programme delivered by Leeds Older People’s Forum and funded through Big Lottery Fund Ageing Better. Time to Shine takes a city-wide approach to addressing the social isolation of older people.

About Yorkshire Dance

Yorkshire Dance champions the development of dance in Yorkshire. It creates opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to see, make and take part in high quality dance that is rooted in their creativity, in their lives and in their communities, with the power to transform and inspire.


Dementia Care Mapping™

Dementia Care Mapping™ is an established approach to achieving and embedding person-centred care for people with dementia, recognised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. For over 20 years it has been used by care practitioners to improve quality of life for people living with dementia in a range of care settings, including care homes and hospitals. Dementia Care Mapping™ prepares staff to take the perspective of the person with dementia in assessing the quality of the care they provide. It empowers staff teams to engage in evidence-based critical reflection in order to improve the quality of care for people living with dementia. Training in DCM is provided by University of Bradford approved trainers, and by partner organisations in more than 10 countries. Developed at the University of Bradford by the late Professor Tom Kitwood, it has been revised and updated at regular intervals.


Time to Shine

Time to Shine selects partners across Leeds to deliver unique and creative projects that engage socially isolated people. Within the programme is robust external local and national evaluation to test and learn from the approaches and inform future work.


Leeds Older People’s Forum

The Leeds Older People’s Forum was established in March 1994 and has grown to a citywide membership of over 100 voluntary sector organisations working with older people across Leeds, including the Neighbourhood Network Schemes. All member organisations provide services dedicated to older people though they are not necessarily an older people’s organisation.