At Home with Singing Mamas
We collaborated with Singing Mamas to evaluate the UK's first digital singing on prescription service, "At Home with Singing Mamas". Designed to provide the benefits of singing to women in Merseyside through NHS and community partnerships, the programme was co-designed with mothers, social prescribing workers, and NHS maternity staff. Shortwork developed a toolkit for gathering feedback, including creative evaluation tools, a mood meter, survey, and interviews with participants and staff. This evaluation helped assess the programme's impact and identify areas for improvement, ensuring that "At Home with Singing Mamas" continues to benefit the women who use it.
* Content Production: The At Home with Singing Mamas platform was successfully developed and launched, featuring high-quality song-sharing videos led by Singing Mamas leaders and including mothers, babies, and toddlers.
* Co-design with Mothers and Health Professionals: The platform was co-designed with mothers and health professionals, ensuring that it captured the essence of a Singing Mamas group, involved mothers and babies in the videos, and helped participants feel like part of the singing circle.
* Engagement with NHS Staff: The programme engaged a large number of NHS staff, who valued having a free and accessible service to offer women, particularly those with social anxiety. Staff who experienced the benefits of singing became advocates for the programme.
* Community-based Referrals: Community-based organisations actively referred women to the programme, and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or community organisations were the most common referral pathway, rather than healthcare professionals or social prescribing referrals. This suggests that recommendations from trusted sources may be most effective in driving participation.
* Barriers to Participation: Technical issues, busy lives, screen fatigue, lack of social connection, forgetfulness, anxiety, and personal circumstances may prevent women from registering and engaging with the programme.
* Positive Feedback: Participants appreciated the warm and professional tone of the materials, the grounding warm-ups, song choices, relatable visuals, and feelings of connection with the singing leaders.
* Engagement During and After Episodes: Participants listened, joined in, watched their children participate, sang along, shared songs with families, and used the songs to manage emotions.
* Personal Benefits: Participants reported improvements in singing ability and confidence, time for themselves, comfort and connection, deep breathing, and motivation to join in-person groups.
* User Research: Conduct in-depth research with a larger group of participants before broader distribution.
* Target Audience: Target late pregnancy and mothers with older children.
* Tailored Programmes: Create digital programmes tailored to specific communities' needs.
* Participant Monitoring: Monitor email delivery and gather mid-course feedback to address issues.
* Accessibility: Offer the programme for free to those who cannot access funded programmes. Provide all episodes at once for flexible access.
* Additional Content: Offer downloadable audio and links to harmony videos.
* Programme Promotion: Use the programme to familiarize women with Singing Mamas and build their confidence to attend in-person groups.
* NHS Integration: Enable NHS trusts to purchase the programme to support their patients.
Our work with Singing Mamas has highlighted the importance of creative and collaborative approaches to evaluating health and wellbeing programmes, and we look forward to applying these insights to future projects.