A new community event is bringing together the residents of Tangmere and people living with dementia. Singing for the Soul is a social singing group for the over 50s and people living with dementia. The group has been organised by Dementia Support volunteer and Tangmere resident – Sue Saunders, who was inspired by a community singing group in Southbourne.
“After seeing how the Southbourne singing group was run and their success, I wanted to emulate something similar in my local village of Tangmere. Everyone who comes gets fully involved and regularly attends each week; it provides company for people who were previously isolated.”
Sue and her fellow volunteers were delighted to win the Observer Community Award for Best Community Event. It was a pleasant surprise as the group is relatively new (started September 2017), but it demonstrates how valuable and well regarded it is in the local community.
The purpose of Singing for the Soul is to provide opportunities to sing and socialise for people over 50 years old, without being a formal choir.
Research into community singing groups (Canterbury Christ Church University, 2012) showed noticeable wellbeing and mental health benefits for those attending.
One attendee spoke of her experience: “I thoroughly enjoyed it; it is a very uplifting, ‘leave a smile on your face’ event.”
Another attendee said: “Gets me out to meet others who enjoy singing in a group; I really enjoy it.”
The group is also dementia friendly which fits with the work of charity – Dementia Support, which is based in Tangmere. People with dementia have a special ability to remember songs, and music becomes a route to communication and engagement. Singing can help lift well-being during and after the session.
They meet every Monday afternoon, 2-4pm in the Tangmere Village Centre. It costs £2.50 per person to attend, with refreshments and homemade cake included.