A NEW singing group has launched in Lydney with the aim of providing a release for people living with dementia and those experiencing loneliness or isolation.
The 'Sing 2 Remember' community group is run by Gloucestershire-based charity Mindsong, and takes place every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at 2pm at Lydney Community Centre.
The charity says the free-to-attend sessions give a range of people, not just those living with dementia, a chance to come together and experience feelings of community and friendship through singing.
Mindsong’s Kate Hicks Beach says they are also about remembering and “channelling emotions”.
The charity runs nine other groups in Gloucestershire after launching its first in Cirencester in 2019.
Among the people who attend are those experiencing isolation; some are bereaved; some live with other conditions that benefit from the uplifting experience of singing with friends; and some simply love to sing but no longer enjoy the more formal setting of a choir.
Kate said of one participant in the sessions: “There is a lovely lady who comes to one of our Sing 2 Remember groups: she is non-verbal, no longer able to shape her words into sentences, but she is full of vitality, laughter and an excellent dancer to boot!
“She comes with a friend and neighbour who says that she enjoys the singing sessions just as much as her friend.
“She also said to me, over a cup of tea, ‘she’s not always this happy, sometimes, in fact, she’s very, very low. But after coming to Sing 2 Remember her happy mood can last for days.’”
Mindsong provides a range of services to people across the county living with dementia, aphasia, COPD, long covid, people experiencing homelessness, and provides support for carers.
The charity works in homes, in hospitals, in care homes and in the community to support people through music, singing together in particular.
Kate said another participant in the sessions told her of how the sessions helped him to not feel frightened and alone anymore.
“As we were putting the chairs away after one of our February sessions, one member of the group who lives with dementia approached me”, she explained.
“He was full of emotion. He said what he said to me with urgency and was keen for me to take on board his message: ‘Going to the groups makes me feel like I’m not alone, that I haven’t just been discarded and put to one side because I am useless. It turned a light on, knowing that I wasn’t the only one, and it made me feel really, really, hopeful and I’m not frightened anymore.’” The charity has helped with the development of a similar local initiative, the St Briavels Music Memory Cafe, which is led by Alice Hogge of local society Wye Valley Music.
The organisations work closely together, with Kate helping to train some of the musicians involved in the Memory Cafe sessions in dementia awareness.
Mindsong’s Sing 2 Remember sessions involve an hour of singing followed by tea, cakes and chat, with participants encouraged to make a small donations if they are able.
Anyone interested in attending the sessions should contact Paige at [email protected] or on 07413 066526.
The next session is next Monday, April 24.