At the start of February 2020, the successful Havering 'Singing for the Brain' groups became independent when Alzheimer's Society no longer had the funds to continue them. These groups have been a social lifeline for hundreds of people since they began in 2012. The volunteers, carers, ex-carers and music leaders now collaborate to run the sessions, relying on donations to pay for the venues, refreshments and musicians.
The sessions are lively, and there is always a party atmosphere. Musicians lead the singalong, sometimes with percussion and song sheets, sometimes with guitar or backing tracks.
It's free and easy: you can get up on the dancefloor or sit back and listen with a cup of tea and a home-made cake. There are no patronising games -- the songs are all from requests by participants. As one long-standing participant says: "It's like being in the pub!"
Over the years the groups have become like a big extended family, and many other outings and social events are coordinated and advertised at the sessions, expertise is shared, and good word of mouth recommendations can be found from people who have been through the dementia-care journey from start to finish.
This is what a dementia-friendly community is really about.
We are the first club in the borough to restart after lock down. The lock down has had a devastating effect on dementia suffers and their carers. The clubs are so beneficial to them. Details of our new clubs.
EVERY WEDNESDAY 11am to 1 pm refreshments, music, £5
St.Michaels church, main road, gidea park, RM3 0FB This club is already running with all COVID safeguarding in place.
EVERY THURSDAY 1 - 3pm. La Salette church, 1 Rainham Road Rainham RM13 8SR. refreshments, music £5 THIS CLUB STARTS ON THURSDAY 1st. October 2020 The club will have all COVID safeguarding in place.
WE HOPE TO START A CLUB IN CRANHAM.
In St.Peters church Front Lane, Cranham,
Full details to be announced later.