A family run performing arts group say its initiative to bring music and dance in to care homes is proving more popular than ever.

Frederick Douglas Performing Arts Academy, which is owned by mother and daughter Debbie Marks, 54, and Leanne Field, 29, runs fun sessions across 36 separate homes in Essex.

The Halstead based company first began bringing its music and dance sessions into homes two years ago.

After a successful start, both Debbie and Leanne gave up their jobs to work on the initiative full-time and they say the scheme is now helping to bring happiness and joy to hundreds of elderly residents throughout Halstead and Essex.

Debbie said: “We go to homes all over the county like Brentwood and Frinton. We seem to have gone from three homes to 36 in no time at all.

“It’s been an amazing two years. The difference we see in the residents is remarkable. Every time we go to a home we like to run different sessions.

“We certainly didn’t expect it to be as popular as it is.”

The drama group is run by just four people and also holds children’s classes at the Empire Theatre on Saturdays.

However, it is the sessions in the care homes which are proving to be most popular and are taking up much of the team’s time.

Debbie added: “I think the musical side seems to help bring back a lot of memories for people, both good and bad.

“We generally start sessions with a bit of clapping and music before getting them moving with some simple dancing. The best bit is they get to exercise and have fun.

“It certainly seems to make a big difference to people’s lives.”