Singing for the Brain

Peoples Millions

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ITV Region: West Country West / Year: 2010

Categories: Education, Health

Unit 46
Plymouth Business Centre
Somerset Place
Stoke, Plymouth


This project will set up 8 new Singing for the Brain groups with local communities across the West Country to help people living with dementia actively enjoy the many benefits of regular socialising and singing. Everyone can join in, no experience is necessary. After refreshments and a chat, our warm and friendly groups sit in a circle and are guided by a skilled music facilitator in a structured session designed around the principles of music therapy and singing. Even when many memories are hard to retrieve, music is especially easy to recall. New songs are learned too, and new friends made.The Singing for the Brain Project will provide exciting volunteering and training opportunities and a vital new service in 8 communities across Devon and Cornwall.

Jackie Botley (70) who has frontal lobe dementia, from Tiverton, says,

‘We love Singing for the Brain so much that my husband and I travel 20 miles each way to the group in Exeter. We’ve made a lot of friends and the social side is absolutely fantastic as well as the singing. It leaves us with a glow going home and it carries on into the week. It’s a tonic and we look forward to it.’

Angela Kirkman, from Exeter, who cares for her husband Peter who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2000, says,

‘This sort of illness can be very isolating, and because husband is not particularly outgoing it was difficult to find social opportunities. Singing for the Brain is a lifeline. There you feel people have some sort of empathy as people know what you’re both going through. Peter is actually happier before a Singing for the Brain session, he looks forward to it and is more content afterwards.’

Michael Keatt, from Exeter who is a carer for his wife Sylvia who has Alzheimer’s, says,

‘We look forward to Singing for the Brain every week in Exeter. We have the satisfaction of being part of a singing group which generates such a close bond between us all. We need to spread the word and the enjoyment and widen the scope. Even some people who come to Exeter have a long way to travel. We wouldn’t miss it. It embraces everyone, everyone is welcomed and we want to get people to vote, vote, vote!!

Bill Field, a carer from Moretonhamstead, Devon, says,
“I enjoy seeing my wife Audrey joining in with the singing. To me it seems like an hours respite. I know she loves to come to Singing for the Brain.”