In normal circumstances, sessions happen 50 weeks of the year at the Albany and various locations around Lewisham. Due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19, we have had to rapidly rethink how we deliver this.
The programme was originally borne out of a need to address social isolation amongst older members of our community. So, with many participants already at risk of something all of us are feeling, continuing to support them consistently and in a meaningful way became an immediate priority (especially as many members do not have access to the internet or digital devices). We’re also well aware that we may not be able to safely meet in person for many months, so whatever we came up with had to be sustainable in the long term.
Luckily, we work with some brilliant artists and facilitators who have helped us to develop creative responses to an unprecedented challenge (it really is true that necessity is the mother of invention!).
One thing we immediately implemented was regular phone calls to the 180 participants we work with regularly. Our Meet Me members receive twice weekly phone calls from our core team with support from volunteers and people already involved with the programme and Lewisham Homes.
And our collective creative responses are developing to include Creative Activity Boxes designed with members to be delivered to participants’ doors, full of inspiring and interesting materials and tasks. And our popular – and in recent times – renowned Meet Me Choir is taking place weekly with our amazing choir leaders Rachel and Tim leading group singing sessions over the phone.
Finally, we’re very excited that Meet Me is taking to the airwaves. A new weekly programme create by Meet Me at the Albany members, artists and collaborators in partnership with Entelechy Arts as a weekly co-produced radio show – Meet Me on the Radio. The first pilot will be broadcast via Resonance FM every Tuesday at 11.30am – 12 midday from 5 May, all participants will be invited to tune in and share in a collective listening experience. Not only do we hope this will provide entertainment (not to mention inspiration) but also some regular comfort and connection from knowing that friends and companions are also joining in with activities and enjoying the show at the same time.
Although we hope that it will be safe to welcome members back in person before too long, we’ll be providing regular updates on our website and social channels and continuing to monitor the wellbeing of everyone involved with the programme. Stay tuned!