The Smiling Sessions is a participatory singing project for the elderly, devised by Shapeshifter Productions in 2011. The original team consisted of three talented musicians, Pete Baikie, Alison Jones and Dick Smith, who made weekly visits to residential sheltered housing schemes and care homes.
Originally funded by The Big Lottery – and being voted into the finals of The National Lottery competition-the sessions evolved into regular gatherings for local residents of Waltham Forest, who started to ask for their favourite songs to be played as memories and stories emerged. This resulted in the team developing a large-print songbook and recodring a CD for the residents to use after the project had finished. Six years later, Book Two with CD 2 is about to be released and a third not far away! The Smiling team encourage song, laughter, friendship and story-telling that revive and warm the hearts of an isolated part of society that badly needs support, acknowledgement and inclusion.