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Grants strike the right note with dementia inclusive singing groups

Thu, 13th Jan 2022

Ten new Dementia Inclusive Singing Network small grants have been awarded.

Ranging between £300 and £2000, they will allow singing groups and choirs to purchase equipment, secure spaces or run activities that allow dementia inclusive singing to continue safely and successfully despite Covid-19 restrictions. 

The recipients are:


The Shalder Shanty Singers

This new group aims to give older singers the confidence to keep going with something they love. The call and response form of sea shanties makes them ideal for all ages and abilities, and the group will also perform other music including traditional Shetland songs. The Shalder Shanty Singers hope to take part in Scalloway’s Festival of the Sea planned for summer. 


Big Sing, Tongue

A true community initiative, Big Sing is a choir for everyone. Their grant will allow them to buy a wider range of music and some new equipment so they can share song words on a big screen in rehearsals. To make sure they remain dementia inclusive, some of their grant will be used to enable members of the organisation to take part in some introductory music therapy training. 

Village Voices, Rosemarkie

Village Voices is a vibrant community choir that is inclusive of people living with dementia. As they begin to meet again in their local hall, they plan to buy a projector and screen so they can go paper-free during singing sessions. This means that singers can enjoy the music without having to worry about keeping materials to hand.   


Aberdeen Musical Memories Singing Group

This dementia inclusive group has been desperate to get back to face-to-face meetings so that friendships formed while singing can continue to flourish. Their grant will allow them to use a new venue, with space and ventilation for safety. A new laptop will also allow song words and music to be projected for all to enjoy. 

Mearns and Deveron Singers Joint Choir

The Mearns and Deveron Singers want more people living with dementia to join the group. They will take ‘taster’ singing sessions to organisations who work with older people, to show how singing groups can support people who are living with dementia. They will also buy equipment so that song words can be projected.


Musical Memories Falkirk

This dementia inclusive singing group has been run by Alzheimer Scotland for over 10 years. Their grant will cover the cost of their music leader for 6 months, and will also enable them to buy a projector and screen so they can go paperless. This will improve COVID safety and reduce print costs.  


Newburgh Wellbeing Choir

This choir has grown from around 20 singers when it started in 2019 to 60 members before lockdown. Set up to provide an opportunity for people to come together and sing for wellbeing, members include people with dementia and respiratory difficulties, as well as people who may be socially isolated. With a planned return to face-to-face meetings, their grant will go towards venue costs, musician fees and refreshments.   

Edinburgh & Lothians 

South Queensferry Singing Group for Dementia

This popular group is for carers and those with dementia in the north west of Edinburgh. Their grant will support their return to face-to-face sessions, and will help them to use technology to reach those who cannot attend in person. New percussion instruments will add to the enjoyment, and some additional safety measures will be put in place. 

Forget Me Notes Project

Sometimes the best solutions are simple ones. As pandemic restrictions began to ease, Forget Me Notes Choir started to meet for outdoor singing sessions in the bandstand in Edinburgh’s Saughton Park. Members enjoyed being together again, and Park visitors of all ages often formed an audience for their singing. Forget Me Notes have decided to continue meeting in the bandstand through the winter, and their grant will cover the costs of hot water bottles and flasks for tea, to keep singers cosy on cold days. 

Let’s Sing

Let’s Sing have stayed connected with their members during the pandemic through regular online videos. Their grant will support them to start meeting again in person, while also staying in touch with those who may not be able to join these sessions. A new series of song videos will be created, and some song cards will be commissioned to share favourite song words and images. A family Burns Supper is planned to celebrate the return to in-person singing, with a CO2 monitor purchased to ensure safety. 

Dementia Inclusive Singing Network Manager, Kirsty Walker, said: 

“We know that singing is good for you and group singing is even better. All across Scotland there are choirs and groups who find immeasurable joy from singing together, and who enjoy the friendships and connections that come from taking part in this shared activity. 

The Dementia Inclusive Singing Network provides support for singing groups which have a focus on supporting people who are living with dementia, and for community choirs which include people with dementia among their members. We connect people up with their local groups, and we work with song leaders and conductors to help provide opportunities that are enjoyable and meaningful for people with dementia and their carers.   

These grants will be put to good use and will ensure that many singers affected by dementia – whether experienced singers or joining a group for the first time – will be able to keep this creative activity in their lives.” 

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