Choirs for people with dementia keep singing following grant from South Wales Freemasons

Hundreds of people living with dementia and their loved ones, will carry on singing thanks to a grant of £15,000 from South Wales Freemasons to the Forget-me-not Chorus charity.

The Forget-me-not choirs are aimed at anyone with dementia and those that care for them. The singing experience has been shown to be hugely effective at mitigating dementia symptoms, as well as providing companionship and great fun for all concerned.

The Forget-me-not Chorus has helped hundreds of families since they were founded a decade ago. Over the last year, they have increased their weekly membership to over 280 and now run four community choirs in Cardiff North, Cardiff South, Newport and North Wales, as well as five choirs in care homes and a choir for patients with dementia at Llandough Hospital, near Cardiff. On average, they welcome six new choristers every month.

Choristers include people with all forms of dementia, including young-onset and Alzheimer’s, their wives, husbands, children and grandchildren. They offer a safe, inclusive community of mutual support for those living with dementia, where all behaviours are accepted and understood. The impact of this weekly haven affects the wider family network as it offers carers a break from the relentless, everyday caring routine.

Inclusion is paramount and no song sheets are used so as not to disadvantage those who have lost the ability to read. Choir is an accepting experience and involves 36 volunteer buddies to further strengthen their singing community.

Kate Woolveridge, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Forget-Me-Not Chorus, said: “We’re very grateful to South Wales Freemasons for their generous grant. We believe passionately in the power of music. Singing together in a relaxed and fun environment has immense therapeutic benefits for those with dementia and their families. The joy and laughter are infectious, and the feel-good factor remains long after the rehearsal is over’.

Robert Payne, Charity Officer from South Wales Freemasons, added: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help the Forget-me-not Chorus with their vital work for those with dementia and their families and friends. They make a real difference, with their performances, stimulating an enormous sense of pride and self-worth in choristers. Each performance takes them on a journey with the person they love, showing that a good quality of life can be achieved together, despite the challenges of living with dementia.

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