Health and wellbeing

Funding level: Up to £1,000


Musical Memories Springburn – Singing For The Brain
Musical Memories Springburn (Singing For The Brain) meets in the halls of Springburn Parish Church. It's first session was in August 2016, and continues to meet every Monday afternoon at 2pm.
We were recently recognised at Scotland’s Dementia Awards as 1 of 3 ‘Best Community Support Initiatives’ in Scotland – sadly no funding prize!!
We have about 14 volunteers, who provide live music and warm support to our friends with dementia and their carers. It is based on well proven research and experience, which shows that the part of the brain which recalls ‘melody’ (Auditory Cortex), tends to be less damaged than others by various forms of dementia. At this point it's worth noting the irony, that our constituency is known to have the shortest life expectancy of any in the UK, but still has a high percentage of 'life limiting' conditions such as dementia. Before we started our Monday singing sessions we took advice from our local Adviser at Alzheimer's Scotland. This allowed us to make our building 'Dementia Friendly'. We are very conscious that we are all members of a community. Our weekly sessions are attended by residents of 4 care local homes, who attend not only with care home staff' but in a couple of cases with relatives who tell us that they find our sessions allow them to spend more 'quality time' with their loved one, than an uncommunicative visit to a care home lounge. We regularly receive positive comments from paid carers and domestic carers alike. Not to mention the folks with dementia.
• I haven’t seen my mum like this for a long time
• I haven’t heard ***** sing for ages, never mind sing solo – After *****’s solo rendition of Edelweiss
• **** doesn’t just sing while she’s here – she sings the songs for the next few days too
• This is fantastic
One husband who is *****’s carer tells us that ***** used to be really anxious if he moved out of reach of her, but he now jokes that he struggles to get her out the hall door after our weekly sessions, as he waits while she has relaxed chats with others.
Our normal attendance is 30+. Although the attendance from care home residents fluctuates depending on day to day staffing levels, our non-residential friends and their carers are very regular in their attendance.
Our local Dementia Assessment Centre Charge nurse tells us that she had tried for some time to persuade ***** to attend Day Care but he was very reluctant. After a few months of socialising within our group he has agreed to attend the Day Care Centre, but “Not on Mondays, that’s my singing day”
It is natural that our lay volunteer team can find some of their experiences quite emotional, but this is seen as largely positive. Our volunteer team members say that they are sometimes quite exhausted after a session, but this is not physical, and they are hugely enjoying their involvement. Our volunteers are not people with ‘large’ amounts of free time but they certainly have ‘huge’ hearts.
As lay people, we sometimes don’t quite understand what it is that creates an atmosphere which is relaxing yet stimulating at the same time, but the smiles tell us that what the project is doing is really making a difference. While we absolutely accept the therapeutic nature and benefit of our singing sessions, we are also convinced that the time people with dementia and carers spend with us must also be fun. We seldom miss an opportunity to have a ‘special’ session ie Halloween (including dooking for apples), Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day.
Now that we are more confident about the ‘musical’ and ‘support’ elements of our afternoons, we are now about to recruit some volunteer drivers, who will make a big difference to those members of our community who they collect and return home calmly.
We feel that we don’t need to explain when the team says, “We get as much out of this as we put in"

Musical Memories Springburn

We feel that our project is a good example of a community looking after its own people. We are proud that our project has been recognised in this year’s Scottish Dementia Awards as one of the 3 ‘Best Community Support Initiatives’ in the whole of Scotland. We have a very good reputation locally

Location: Springburn, Glasgow, United Kingdom