Sounds like success
Charissa King visits an award-winning musical project in Manchester
Melody Memories is a singing session designed for people affected by dementia, and their carers. Run by a small team of dedicated volunteers at Trinity Community Church in Moss Side, Manchester, Melody Memories takes place on one Monday a month, with up to 35 participants taking part.
It all began in 2012, after Trinity’s then minister, the Revd Bob Day, was inspired by a BBC documentary about Singing for the Brain – an Alzheimer’s-Society-led initiative that runs singing workshops. ‘Our congregation is predominantly elderly,’ explains Carol Bodey, who serves as a church elder, and regularly volunteers at Melody Memories, leading the singing sessions. ‘There are a lot of elderly people around the area, so we wanted to do some outreach work. It’s one of the best parts of my month. Volunteering is part of my Christian service, that’s how I see it – apart’, Carol says, with an enthusiastic smile, ‘from the fact that I like it so much!’
Beryl, a 77-year old volunteer who’s attended the church since she was four years old, tells me, eagerly, that those who attend Melody Memories are ‘like one big family’. Service users I speak to say that the volunteers are nice, and very friendly. I can see what they mean – the small team I meet is a varied mix of school leavers, working age and retired people, all genuinely pleased to assist in the fun and companionship offered by the project. On the day I arrive, the group sings a tuneful and enthusiastic ‘Happy Birthday’ to Arthur – a regular attendee for whom Gillian, the Group Facilitator, has bought a cake…
This is an extract from an article that was published in the March 2018 edition of Reform