Ruth and Neil Hannah have always loved music and singing.

They started Musical Memories, a social enterprise offering singing sessions for older people living in rural communities, to help people enjoy the simple pleasures of singing, talking and spending time together.

Ruth said: “Normally we’re out and about in Ryedale at various community venues running our singing sessions where we enjoy a vintage song together, have a cuppa and chat with people. The aim is to beat loneliness and isolation and help people to feel good.

“Since coronavirus we’ve had to go online, but people can still join us virtually. We’ve been running a daily series we call Tune A Day each weekday. Just a song and a bit of chat to help folk to stay in touch and have a bit of fun during these worrying times.”

Musical Memories is one of many community organisations providing much-needed local support to help improve physical and mental health in North Yorkshire, with funding and assistance from a number of sources, including the County Council’s stronger communities team.

Studies have shown that singing together can boost immunity, reduce stress and improve mood and memory leading to a positive impact on health and well-being.

Maureen Christmas lives in Pickering and joined Musical Memories three years ago.

Although she’s looking forward to attending the group again in person, Maureen has enjoyed the virtual sessions during lockdown. Maureen said: “Every day at 11am those of us with an iPad log on and they show us songs and it’s lovely, we just really love it. And for those who don’t have the internet they send the lyrics and a CD with all the music on, so they can listen to the music and sing.

“When Covid started we were all a bit down in the mouth, especially those who are alone. I’m lucky because I have my husband, but I would wake up feeling down then I’d think yes, 11 o’clock I have Musical Memories.

“I think they have done a fantastic job, and what they have done for older people is quite remarkable. They say nowadays about people with their mental health and singing gets your endorphins going. It’s just a great thing they are doing and they have brightened my life during coronavirus.”

Musical Memories is one of more than 7,000 listings on North Yorkshire Connect, an online directory which helps people find community groups and things to do in their area. People can access information about voluntary organisations and other services offering support during coronavirus.

Find out more about North Yorkshire Connect.

People who are self-isolating and don't have anyone to call on for help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials can also contact North Yorkshire County Council on 01609 780780 seven days a week between 8am and 5.30pm.