A POP-UP choir made up of residents and staff from care settings have taken their sound to Newcastle for the first time.
Celebrating its first anniversary, the Gateshead Care Home Choir, made up of 75 care staff and older people living with dementia, performed to shoppers and businesses in Newcastle’s busy Grainger Market this October.
It’s the first time they’ve taken their songs, rehearsed and created alongside professional musicians Liz Corney and Nicky Rushton, across the river following their debut performance at Sage Gateshead earlier this year.
We created the choir to improve older people’s wellbeing and support care staff to bring creativity into their work with those living with dementia.
Alice Thwaite, our co-director, said: “Involving care staff has been key to the success of the choir and we’d love to see a choir in every care home.
“Musical aptitude and appreciation are two of the abilities that remain intact in people with dementia, while research has shown that music can enhance people’s cognitive abilities.”
Among those taking part in the choir was Ann Whitton, 82, who sings alongside residents and care staff at Lindisfarne in Birtley. She said: “The best thing about being in the choir is meeting the other people from the other homes, we get together and enjoy seeing each other. Without the choir we never would have met them.”
We were commissioned by the Tyne and Wear Care Alliance to create the choir after funding from Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group to support care staff training.
Talking about the benefits of the choir, open to all care homes in Gateshead, Dr Guy Pilkington, Assistant Chair of NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Participating in a musical activity can improve communication between staff and residents as well as reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness for the patients. Music can help make life happier – and that’s what we want for all people living with dementia.
“The evidence regarding the value of singing for people with dementia and memory problems is well documented. Music is well known to lift our spirits and can improve a patient’s sense of wellbeing.”
To find out how to join the Gateshead Care Home Choir ring 0191 477 5775 or email [email protected]