We caught up with Kissing it Better, a charity who became members of the network back in 2017 due to their Major Grant. They have subsequently had a Time to Shine Leader, Hannah, who is in the middle of her employment year with them.
Simply, Kissing it Better’s mission is ‘to end the isolation of old age by bringing the generations together.’ There is a key team of 5, with 7 additional self-employed team members. The main bulk of people at Kissing it Better are the fantastic volunteers from schools, colleges, universities, and teachers, as well as musicians. There are around 800 of them!
Ordinarily, Kissing it Better has contracts with large hospital Trusts. They also work with care home groups and those in the community. Some of that work is funded by local councils as well as other funding groups and individuals who donate money to the organisation, either directly or through fundraising activities.
Kissing it Better are also starting to teach students in secondary schools, colleges, universities and those completing ‘Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards’ about their work through a regulated and accredited course called ‘Creative Thoughtfulness in the Care of Others’. They also run workshops for primary school children called “When great granny came to stay’, to teach them how best to engage with their older relatives, neighbours and friends.
Those who sing or offer other performances that demonstrate their skills (drama, dance, magic skills, hairdressing, beauty therapy etc.,) are learning how to adapt a performance or experience for those who may have dementia, hearing loss or poor sight. In return, Kissing it Better will offer master classes on how to work in challenging environments, train them in dementia awareness, write references for them.
During this pandemic, Kissing it Better has had to adapt its services to facilitate social distancing and the ensure the safety of their staff and service users: from making regular phone calls to elderly service users, to making goodie-bags for hospital and care staff. One of their adapted activities has received a lot of publicity. This is their ‘outside the window’ campaign – an initiative that enables Kissing it Better to continue to bring music and other gentle entertainment to those isolated in care homes and hospitals by performing at a safe distance outside their windows.
They are also working with The Duke of Edinburgh Award to enable students to continue their volunteering experience by connecting them with older people in the community, by giving them ways to continue that connection from their own homes.
How to contact KIB or get more information.
The best way to contact KIB is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07831 136152 or 01789 488018
You can visit their website here.
We asked them how their service users were responding: