Manchester Camerata orchestra given funds to help people living with dementia

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Manchester's Camerata orchestra has received a new grant which will enable it to continue using music to help people living with dementia.

The organisation was given £31,800 from a new £500,000 fund created through the charity Music for Dementia. The Paul and Nick Harvey fund was set up specifically to support musical activities for people with the condition.

 The orchestra is planning on dividing the cash in half to deliver two projects.

Dementia Memory café

Half of the Grant Award will go towards a new Dementia Memory café at the Camerata’s base in Gorton, East Manchester. People with dementia who live at home with a family carer will write music with a professional composer and highly trained musicians on any topic of their choosing, creating songs over which the participants have complete autonomy.

Through the Camerata’s research-led (with the University of Manchester) work, it has seen first-hand how these sessions give empowerment to people living with dementia, give them more confidence, reduce stress levels, enable them to better communicate and feel better connected with their carer, and also to be more creative in their day to day lives.

Credit: Manchester Camerata

Music in Mind

The other half of the money will go towards the continued development of the organisation’s Music in Mind: Remote dementia music programme.

Music in Mind: Remote was developed by Manchester Camerata as a response to the Covid pandemic, when delivering its highly successful and longstanding in-house Music in Mind sessions in care homes became impossible due to lockdown. With the pressures that the care workers were under, and subsequently how the residents were suffering when their everyday routine was thrown into disarray – Manchester Camerata developed this online version of its ground-breaking programme, in order to reach out to and support care home and care workers.

With this grant, Manchester Camerata is now able to develop, adapt and bring the benefits of Music in Mind to at-home family carers and their loved ones. Its specially trained team of music therapists and musicians will meet (virtually or in-person) at-home carers and offer them group and 1-to-1 support sessions so that they themselves can try out these benefit-giving activities with their loved ones in their own homes.

Credit: Manchester Camerata

Grace Meadows, Programme Director, Music for Dementia, said: “We are so delighted to be able to support Manchester Camerata and others across the UK with a grant from the Paul & Nick Harvey Fund. Musical services have been severely impacted in the last year, meaning many people living with dementia and their carers have lost those important connections and special moments that only music can provide.

“By directing the fund money towards community-based, musical services for people living with dementia and those that provide them, we are able to bring the joy of music into people’s lives wherever they are on their dementia journey.”

Bob Riley, Manchester Camerata CEO comments: “We are so thrilled to be one of the 27 recipients of this phenomenal grant from the Music for Dementia Fund. It will make such a huge difference to how we can build on the success of our life changing and ground breaking dementia and Music in Mind programme.

''Since we launched Music in Mind in 2012, we have become world leaders in our dementia work, sharing best practice in care homes across Greater Manchester and even as far as Japan and Taiwan. We have seen through academic research and first-hand how our dedicated programme transforms lives through music .

''We are so pleased that this funding will now enable us to open up new possibilities and reach new and more people either affected by or living with dementia.”