2012 -KMPT, in partnership with Sing for Your Life and the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health (already KMPT service providers) was successful in bidding for EU Grundtvig funding to develop a two-year project to share knowledge, expertise and best practice with partners from across Europe working in the field of Arts and Health, in particular the health and wellbeing benefits of music, in a range of diverse settings. This Octavia Project aimed to ‘train the trainer’ on the physical and mental health benefits that can result from singing in groups. The funding enabled staff to visit European partner organisations to learn from their experiences, and bring this learning back to be implemented in Kent. KMPT, Sing for Your Life and the Sidney De Haan Research Centre also hosted visiting staff from partner organisations.

The Health and Europe Centre helped KMPT and other Kent partners prepare the bid and provided administrative and project management support.

The European partners were:

• SENT – Slovenian Mental Health Association

• CEPER Almanjayar Cartuja – Adult education college, Granada, Spain

The project also worked in conjunction with Jyvaskyla Educational Consortium, Finland, although they were unsuccessful in their application for EU funding to be part of this project.

Kent staff have visited their counterparts in Spain and Slovenia and hosted two visits to Kent. The feedback received from all the visits was that they have been highly successful and that all delegates will be implementing new ideas in their own organisations as a result.  In May 2012 there was a conference held in Canterbury which pulled together all the learning from all the partners and acted as a best practice guide to implementing singing and music as a wellbeing strategy in a variety of different contexts.

The Grundtvig programme is part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme and funds training opportunities for UK adult education organisations, staff & learners. It is connected to the wider Erasmus + programme and the experience gained in this project led some of the partners to develop TABLO