The study arose from a Youth Music funded project for soundLINCS to support social interactions of young parents in challenging circumstances and their babies and toddlers, through musical activities.
It was initially focused on young parents leaving care and developed into a programme working with those in challenging circumstances. soundLINCS liaised with relevant organisations to facilitate musical activities in the young parents’ homes and later at venues for group meetings. A designated soundLINCS Music Facilitator organised the musical activities delivered, including reference to ideas and initiatives from the young parents involved. The group meetings began at the soundLINCS office base, later accessing a purpose-built facility (The Foyer) for the second stage of the programme. Findings showed that the support through music was highly beneficial, giving participants greater confidence and resilience to develop their next steps both for themselves and their children, as well as promoting an enjoyment of musical activities.
It was planned to develop the initiative further through another programme of meetings, accessing a safe and secure outdoor play area. The report begins with a consideration of the context of the work and an overview from literary sources, of possible challenges for young parents.
Recent research identifies a cycle in which care leavers are more likely than their peers to become young parents, and also more likely to have their children placed into Local Authority care or adoption. The ‘Groove and Grow’ project examined music making as an approach to break the cycle.
The research was conducted by Dr Pat Beckley from Lincoln Bishop Grosseteste University. Dr Beckley writes “The social interactions organised, devised and encouraged through musical activities and the opportunity to access these in a non-threatening, safe environment gave young parents and their babies and toddlers the means to learn new skills in personal, social and emotional development as well as enjoy and develop their musical ability for themselves and their children.”
This research will interest be of interest to organisations providing social and musical opportunities for vulnerable young parents and their babies and toddlers.