Radio Horton brings back musical memories with new service

By Sarah Edwards at

North Oxfordshire’s Hospital, Health and Well Being radio broadcasting service has launched a new service, expanding its listenership into Glebefields Care Home in Drayton.

Radio Horton has been trialling its exclusive weekly radio programme to Glebefields since July and after a successful official launch last week as the Glebefields team celebrated receiving its rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Radio Horton gifted an internet radio to Glebefields Care Home which has been situated in the community room. The residents have been enjoying a weekly request programme.

Radio Horton Chairman, Anthony Brown said: “We have been working on launching our Care Home service over the last few years with a view to providing a radio service to those receiving long term care, whilst consulting on the necessary equipment and with local care homes in terms of establishing a suitable programme and schedule that fits around the care home’s own activities.”

“We are aware of the importance of music in assisting with social interaction, reducing isolation and bringing back memories. Similar initiatives are taking place in other parts of the country and our sister station Radio Cherwell at the Oxford Hospitals has been providing a care home service for some years.”

According to research by national charity, Age UK, music can be extremely beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia by connecting and stimulating memories. Playing music from a significant period or event in a person’s life such as their wedding, birthday or anniversary can help recall special memories and emotions.

Radio Horton’s Care Home service at Glebefields has so far proven popular with both staff and residents alike.

Fiona Adamson, Business Development Manager of Brighterkind, which runs Glebefields as well as 70 care homesacross the country said: “At Glebefields Care Home we believe that real care cannot be delivered until we completely understand the person being cared for. When we were approached by Radio Horton we jumped at the chance. Our residents eagerly await the arrival of the ‘request gatherers’ because this gives them the opportunity to recall some of their favourite songs and tell each other why the song is particularly special to them. They absolutely love the show and all wait eagerly to hear their requests played. The songs are chosen for their significance to our resident’s lives, evoking memories and encouraging wonderful conversations after the show.”

Radio Horton Volunteer, Jon Cox fronts the weekly Care Home Request Programme which is broadcast on a Thursday afternoon. It is presented from Radio Horton’s studios in the Horton General Hospital.

Jon said: “When Radio Horton decided to offer a service to Care Homes, I thought it was a wonderful idea and decided to volunteer to help the committee deliver this fantastic initiative. Talking with both the staff and some of the residents, I realised this weekly show meant a lot to the residents and that I was very privileged to look inside the lives of the residents and the staff. With the technical help of Radio Horton we are very close to hosting the show live from the home, which is very exciting.”

Jon also gathers the requests from Glebefields and similarly to the existing request programmes on Radio Horton, the diversity of musical choice never ceases to amaze the presenter: “A recent request astounded me the song ‘Daddy wouldn’t buy me a Bow Wow’ was a musical hit and first written in 1892, sadly the recording of the original singer, Victoria Vesta was from 1900 was not available so I managed to find a recording from the 1920’s by Jessie Matthews. The musical diversity of the requests shows so much about the residents, their unique characters and experiences and I feel drawn to learn more about them all and if by playing their music I’m bringing back memories and stimulating them, I want to do more for them.”

Alvar, a resident of Glebefields Care Home is a regular contributor to the show and has shown that his music taste covers a wide range of genres from classical to country and western to more modern songs. He is now one of the first to be in the lounge waiting for the show to start so he can listen to, and talk about, his favourite music. Alvar said: “The Radio Horton show is my absolute favourite part of the week! I love to send Jon my obscure requests and to hear his reaction live on air. It brings us all together and it is truly wonderful.”

Another resident Kathy said: “I always listen to our radio show. I love hearing Jon do my shout out and I put in a different song from my favourite singer every week. I think everyone enjoys it and we gather around the radio.”

Fiona Adamson describes how invaluable the service has been to the Glebefields residents so far: “The benefits of this project to our residents is proving to be huge! Conversation, memories, discussion and even good-natured rivalry about whose song is the best is stirred each week. The joy on the faces of the residents when they hear their song played live is priceless. Those who are able get up to dance and those less able are seen jiggling in their chairs.

“We are hugely grateful for the benefits this is bringing to our residents in their home. Music and dance are a wonderful medium for sharing and bringing people together!”

Radio Horton will supply care homes with an internet radio at no cost and will broadcast a weekly service for residents. Any local care homes wishing to adopt the service are invited to register an expression of interest with Radio Horton by emailing: committee@radiohorton.co.uk.