Power of music: funding grant will help more people with dementia

Archive image, pre Covid-19: Participants taking part in a session of Together In Sound, Saffron Walden, Essex

Archive image, pre Covid-19: Participants taking part in a session of Together In Sound - Credit: Saffron Photo

Saffron Hall Trust has welcomed news it will receive £14,000 in funding to allow more people with dementia to benefit from the power of music.

The trust runs the music therapy project Together in Sound in partnership with Cambridge Institute of Music Therapy Research at Anglia Ruskin University.

Saffron Hall Trust will use the funding to continue Together in Sound in Saffron Walden and extend the project into Braintree in January 2022.

Archive: Participants taking part in a Together In Sound session, Saffron Walden, Essex

Archive: Participants taking part in a Together In Sound session - Credit: Holly Cassidy

Thomas Hardy, Saffron Hall's learning and participation director, said: “We’re delighted to receive this support for our Together in Sound Programme, which has been established for several years.

"During this last year in particular, it has been described as a ‘lifeline’ by those taking part.

"This funding will help Saffron Hall Trust and Anglia Ruskin develop our first satellite project.

"As we do this, we’re particularly excited about developing stronger partnerships with the healthcare sector, working closely with social prescribing link workers to ensure our work reaches as many people who will benefit as possible.”

Russell and Brenda of Quendon, Essex, who take part in Together In Sound sessions

Quendon residents Russell and Brenda, who take part in Together In Sound sessions - Credit: supplied

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Russell Smith from Quendon and his wife Brenda, who lives with dementia, have enjoyed attending Together in Sound group for several years.

Russell said: “What I’ve witnessed at these sessions is quite remarkable; people that appear to have lost all interest in life, come to life.  

"This is the impact music can have and it appears to me that a special place in the brain is awakened by certain pieces of music.

"To witness a loved one reliving past memories through music is such an uplifting experience.   

“Brenda has now been in a care home for 15 months, but she still takes part in the Together in Sound sessions from there and although my role as a full-time carer for her is now sadly over, I still take part too. 

“We’ve continued enjoying Together in Sound through the pandemic, although it’s not been easy just seeing each other on the small screen via Zoom.

People taking part in an online video session from their own homes, Essex

Together in Sound got together online during the pandemic - Credit: Together In Sound

"However, we’re all really looking forward to meeting each other face-to-face once again in the very near future.”

Saffron Hall Trust is one of four organisations in England being supported by the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) and Music for Dementia.

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