On June 18 th The Daily Mail and the Big Lottery Fund awarded more than £6million to charities and organisations helping to improve the lives of older people. The joint initiative, known as the Silver Dreams Fund, is part of a wider campaign to distribute National Lottery grants totaling £110million to the most inspirational and worthy projects. In the spirit of the Daily Mail’s long-running Dignity for the Elderly campaign, the money was given to causes that will enhance the lives of older people and recognise the contribution they make to society.

Nat Sloane, chairman of the Big Lottery Fund England, said the projects chosen ‘would value and recognise the positive contribution older people make to society now and into the future, and provide support that meets their needs.’

We at Sunbeams are thrilled to tell you that our Sunbeams Music For Dignity® application was successful.

This is how our news was announced on the BIG Lottery North-West Website. Do listen to Pauline’s audio clip, and keep watching our web-site for ongoing photographs of our Music For Dignity® project – our new pioneering programme which is now launched in Cleator Moor in West Cumbria.



An older people’s music group and new community ventures including restoring furniture and repairing bicycles are just some of the ways innovative projects across the North West will be supporting and working with older people.

Three creative North West projects for older people today share a slice from a £6million England-wide funding announcement from the Big Lottery Fund’s Silver Dreams programme in association with the Daily Mail.

“You’re never to old too have fun” says one Silver Liner who along with other older people across West Cumbria is hoping to do everything to ensure that “life is still sweet at 80” through their Silver Liners music and performance group.

In Cumbria 27% of residents are aged 60 plus compared to 22% nationally. In Copeland, projections suggest the 65 plus age group will increase to 30% by 2033, above average for England. Annie Mawson’s Sunbeams Music Trust receives £144,622 today for its Music For Dignity® project which will work with the Silver Liners music group to make a different to older people in the area.  

Sunbeams is aiming to work with over 130 older people in the area with a range of complex physical and mental health needs who are rurally isolated. Through music, the project will help them to find new ways to cope with life-changing events, such as the transition into care, bereavement, or coping with their long-term illnesses.

The community led initiative will start with the Silver Liners - 12 wheelchair users aged 50 to 97 - guided by two professional Sunbeams musicians who will build their musical repertoire and perform concerts with 120 less active older people in care homes and at the Civic Hall. Interactive music rehearsals and concerts will help older people deal with the strain of day-to-day life and give them back their quality of life.

Audio clip: Pauline Grears, a Silver Liner talks about the difference Sunbeams already makes to her life and her hopes for the new project. Click here for audio file.

Annie Mawson, who founded Sunbeams 20 years ago said: “I am absolutely delighted that our application to Silver Dreams has been successful. We are all so passionate about our delivery of Community Music Sessions throughout Cumbria, and to be able to pioneer our new Music For Dignity® programme in my home town of Cleator Moor is so exciting. The project places a specific emphasis on enabling older people to find new ways to cope.

Despite health deterioration, this age group do not want to be a silent majority anymore, but want to have a voice – literally, and remain active where possible.

Annie continued, “Music is a powerful stimulus for older people, promoting the ability within the disability, and helping to alleviate their feelings of exclusion, vulnerability and isolation. We cannot wait to get started, and as the Silver Liners themselves said they want to make their wheelchairs invisible.”


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