The Salvation Army in Sedgley invite the community to become ‘Dementia Friends’ and launches new ‘Singing By Heart’ group

published on 30 Aug 2017

The Salvation Army will be holding a Dementia Awareness Information session on 12 September 2017 at 7pm at All Saints Church Hall in Sedgley. The free one-hour long session is open to the community to find out a little of what it’s like to live with dementia.   

Lee Highton-Nicholls from The Salvation Army is the Dementia Friends Champion for the session and said: “We work with the Alzheimer’s Society to raise awareness and give local people training in how it feels to experience dementia. We have already given training to the church here in Sedgley and they embraced it, so much so, that they wanted to share the knowledge with their community. Many people know someone affected by dementia; for example, there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to increase to over one million by 2025 and two million by 2051. There are now 40,000 people under the age of 65 with dementia.*

“The Dementia Friends initiative is run to help make life better for people living with dementia in their communities. You may know someone on your street who you suspect is living with dementia, or you may have just found out a relative has dementia. Coming to our one-hour sessions may just begin to help understand the challenges a person may face living with dementia. It’s about inspiring people to take action and to support their local community. Every person is unique and will have their own likes and dislikes, so it’s important to remember that dementia affects everyone differently.”

New group - Singing by Heart

Margaret Hollis, local leader of The Salvation Army said:

“We are committed to growing awareness about dementia in Sedgley. We want to welcome people into our future activities within the community. We will be starting a group that will meet every last Monday in the month, called ‘Singing by Heart’.

People living with dementia can come along with their carers. ‘Singing by Heart’ is a chance to share the joy of singing with others through a mix of popular Christian and secular songs that most people would know. Singing really helps to make both a spiritual and mind connection and people really enjoy their time together.”

Sedgley is one of the first of The Salvation Army’s churches to launch Singing By Heart. The initiative is the brainchild of the church and charity’s Older People’s Ministries and its Music and Creative Arts teams, who wanted to develop something practical in a spiritual context to help people living with dementia in the UK. The teams have developed a model for Singing By Heart, which can be replicated across The Salvation Army’s UK centres. The model includes a book of 30 memorable songs for groups to sing together. Research has proven that music can be therapeutic for people who live with dementia; The Salvation Army hopes that Singing By Heart will provide a practical way to help people who live with dementia by encouraging them to join in song with their carers, families and communities. Songs include classics such as, ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ and well-known hymns like ‘Give Me Joy In My Heart’. The Salvation Army hopes to roll out its free-to-attend Singing By Heart session throughout September to any of its churches who want to host a group.

‘Singing by Heart’ launches on 25 September at 2pm at All Saints Church Hall, Ladies Walk in Sedgley (it will take place at the rear of the hall, which is opposite the clinic and library). More information is available about Dementia Friends on the Alzheimer’s Society website here