Mar 312015
 

Centrepiece ChoirA dementia friendly choir in North Berwick has been given a funding boost of £5,000.

Centrepiece Choir, which is part of North Berwick Day Care Association, was started two years ago by people with dementia and their friends who wanted to sing and perform, with money from a local Trust fund.

The choir have already performed a programme of successful events, and practice weekly in the local church hall under the direction of gifted choir master Andrew Brown. The choir themselves decide what they would like to sing, and where they would like to go to perform, and are supported by community volunteers who organise the music, venues, transport and outfits.

The funding will allow this community of interest to continue to come together, to meet in a familiar group with like-minded people who enjoy singing and performing in a dementia friendly space, and entertain their local community.

Funding has come from the Life Changes Trust, an independent charity set up with a Big Lottery Fund endowment of £50 million to improve the lives of two key groups in Scotland: people affected by dementia and care experienced young people. The Trust will be investing £3million in 14 different dementia friendly communities over the next three years.

Valerie MacAdam, one of the choir organisers and a member herself, said,

This funding is very important to our choir. Activities like singing help people rediscover old skills, build confidence and have fun. Over the years, many people in the choir have had dementia but they really enjoy singing because, for them, the memory of singing has stayed long after everything else goes. Our choir will continue to build on the positive outcomes that the power of music, and being part of a community can bring to people with dementia.’
Elma Danks, Chair of the North Berwick Day Centre Management Committee and also a choir member said, ‘It gives them huge pleasure and you can see such a positive change in their appearance each time you meet them and they have sung. They really enjoy entertaining others because they feel they are still able to give back, they are contributing, and taking part.

Anna Buchanan, Director of the Life Changes Trust dementia programme said

Many people living with dementia stop taking part in activities that may have given them great pleasure in the past, or which allowed them to mix with their peers. Initiatives like these bring people together in a dementia friendly community of interest where they have opportunities to be part of something that is meaningful to them. This is a self-directed group who make decisions about what they do and how they do it. This funding will support them to continue to be empowered to do the things they love and make decisions about their own activities.

In Scotland:

  • It is estimated that around 90,000 people have dementia
  • The number of people with dementia in Scotland is increasing, because the population is getting older. Based on current dementia prevalence rates, the number of people with dementia in Scotland is projected to double by 2038*.
  • Much of that financial burden falls on family carers and friends, who may also experience social isolation, exhaustion and health problems associated with the demands of caring.
  • Dementia costs the country more than cancer, heart disease and stroke put together.

The Life Changes Trust is committed to funding and supporting the development of Dementia Friendly Communities across Scotland and to supporting transformational improvements in the quality of life, well-being, empowerment and inclusion of people affected by dementia – both those who have dementia and those who care for them.

Find out more at www.lifechangestrust.org.uk.