Harlesden Project: Tesco Bags of Help.


Following the the award of £4000 from Tesco’s Bags of Help community grant scheme - managed by the community charity Groundwork, who specialise in transforming communities and the local environment for the better - The Music Project ran an intergenerational music project in Harlesden through April and May 2019.

The Project: supporting those with Dementia through Music

The Music Project worked closely with Newfield Primary School and Elders Voice Day Centre, bringing together young pupils and those living with dementia.

This was the first project of its kind run in London, working on a similar model to the series "Old Peoples Homes for 4 Year Olds", recently shown on Channel 4.

Each week ten children will spent time at Elders Voice in Kensal Green learning songs, playing music and integrating with fifteen people living with dementia from the day centre. 

With two local musicians, and structured yet fluid and adaptable sessions, we ensured a high level of engagement and interaction between both younger and older generations. All sessions were be carried out at Elders Voice allowing more day centre users to actively participate.

Ashleigh Dunn, Director of The Music Project, said:

"This project marks an exciting development for the charity as this is our most integrated project to date, ensuring continued contact between the day centre and primary school over a six week period, allowing both children and day centre users to build relationships allowing our project to have greater impact. We are confident that this intergenerational project focused on those with dementia will inspire, educate and entertain all involved”. 

Music helps tackle the symptoms of dementia, including agitation, anxiety and depression, and songs included in our programme such as ‘You are my sunshine’, ‘Que Sera Sera’, and ‘Head Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ will help memory recall, encourage movement and benefit the children who will learn new songs, and gain greater understanding and empathy of those with dementia.

We will use this project as a template for future partnerships with schools and care providers nationwide.


All involved - from younger and older participants, to staff from both the day centre and school - had nothing but praise for the project.

Philippa, a Assistant Head Teacher at Newfield Primary, said: "It was a lovely - moving - real community affair".

Dawn, Day Centre Manager at Elders Voice, said: "This project was a great example of different ages coming together and the end product was amazing for all".

And Anna, Operations Manager at Elders Voice, said: "One of the best things we’ve done! Loved by all. Fantastic impact on clients mental health. Would love to do a weekly permanent session".

These positive sentiments were reflected in the feedback surveys we received too, with:

  • 100% of respondents satisfied with how the project went.

  • 100% of respondents in agreement that the project had benefited the participants’ wellbeing.

  • 100% of respondents satisfied with the support The Music Project provided.

  • 83% of respondents agreeing - at least to some degree - that the project had helped build external community relationships.

  • And 100% of respondents saying they’d like to work with us again or would refer us to another organisation.


Tesco’s Bags of Help & Groundwork UK

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Tesco’s Bags of Help is run in partnership with the environmental charity Groundwork, which helps to award grants to thousands of local community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, it’s provided more than £67 million to over 21,000 local community projects up and down the country.

Alec Brown, Tesco’s Head of Community, said: “Bags of Help contributes funds to community projects up and down the country and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers voting in their local stores. We’re looking forward to seeing more projects brought to life.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “Bags of Help continues to enable local communities up and down Britain to improve the local spaces and places that matter to them. The diversity of projects that are being funded shows that local communities have a passion to create something great in their area. We are pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to help local communities thrive”.

We are immensely grateful to Tesco and Groundwork for their support, and in particular, for the backing of the local community of Harlesden, who offered us their support by voting for us to win this grant.

You can learn more about the work that Tesco and Groundwork UK do together with disadvantaged communities here.