Songs on Wheels
Some recent programmes
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Who we are and what we do
Songs on Wheels is a group of friends, mainly retired people based in the Wimbledon area. Since January 2014 we have been travelling to care homes, day centres and clubs for older people or those with physical or mental disabilities to share the enjoyment of singing old songs.
During the pandemic, we have had to adapt. During strict lockdowns, we made videos remotely; when possible, we took very small numbers to sing in gardens, and then once we were all vaccinated and had access to lateral flow tests, we began increasing the numbers. In September 2021, we returned to singing indoors, limiting numbers according to the size and ventilation of each venue.
The programmes last just under an hour and include show tunes and popular songs mainly from the 30s, 40s and 50s, as well as comedy songs, traditional songs, and light classics. The group sings mainly in 4-part harmony, and is accompanied by a professional pianist. Where venues have no piano, we bring a keyboard. We supply programmes with the words of the songs, (now sent by email in advance) and simple props and costumes, which our audiences always find engaging. We have home-made Pearly King hats, some honeysuckle and an outsize bee, and an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikini, on one outing modelled with panache by a lady of 99.
We always get people joining in, whatever their physical or mental frailty. It is particularly rewarding to see people living with dementia heartily singing every word of songs they knew when they were younger, and shaking off their confusion or anxiety during that time.
We have a pool of 20 singers: between 8 and 16 will come out on most outings, depending on the size of the venue. Over the last couple of years, we have sometimes limited it to 2.
We ask for a fee of £60 per session, to cover the costs of our pianists, and preparation of the music. All the singers are volunteers.
Kew House care home, Wimbledon
Dear Libby and your fantastic army of volunteers,
Thank you so much for your continued love and support that you show our home and residents. Music is such a powerful thing and your visits have a huge positive impact on everyone here.
Eastway Day Centre, Morden
It’s great to get feedback from our clients as they often don’t remember from one minute to the next, your team of very talented singers obviously make an impact on our ladies and gents.
Sherwood Grange care home, Kingston Vale
A big thank you for last Wednesday! Our residents loved your singing and they talked about it for a few days afterwards.
The White House Nursing Home, New Malden
Just a very big thank you, for the wonderful concert yesterday, The residents absolutely loved it, ( as did I ) I really can’t express how you lift us all up!
St Mary’s Day Centre for adults with a learning disability, Roehampton
The service users will look forward to your visit - they often ask when you guys will be coming back!!