The music industry is making more moves to help those living with dementia.
Today, The National Academy For Social Prescribing and its partners launched two new initiatives to bring the benefits of music to tens of thousands of people living with dementia and their carers. They report that 209,600 more people have been estimated to have developed dementia this year.
The Power Of Music Fund and the Music Can digital platform were revealed at a special event for policy-makers, charities and health leaders at Universal Music UK’s offices. An official press release stated: “Together these initiatives will provide support through music – a ‘social prescription’ that evidence suggests could help improve the lives of the 944,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK.”
Opening for applications on November 22, the Power Of Music Fund will allow grassroots dementia choirs and music groups to apply for small grants to cover basic costs, like room hire, travel and refreshments. There will also be one larger grant of £500,000, available for a new Centre of Excellence; a partnership between health and care providers, voluntary organisations, music providers and dementia support organisations.
We want to help make music a standard part of dementia care
Charlotte Osborn-Forde, The National Academy For Social Prescribing
It is stated that the Centre of Excellence will “test new approaches to embedding music as part of dementia care, gather evidence of cost savings for the NHS, and design new models of care which could be scaled up and spread across England.”
The National Academy For Social Prescribing (NASP) has established the Fund, which has been kickstarted by a £1 million contribution from the Utley Foundation, as well as support from Arts Council England, Music For All and others. NASP states that it aims to raise £5 million for the fund in total.
Also launching is the Music Can online platform, which will go live today and help people living with dementia, their carers and musicians to feel confident about using music as part of their care.
The website – spearheaded by Universal Music UK and developed by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) – includes a directory of support, playlists, music activities and advice. The projects build on two of the recommendations of last year’s Power Of Music report, published by UK Music and Music For Dementia.
Both initiatives are perfect examples of the power of music, bringing music and healthcare to together to support people’s wellbeing right across the country
David Joseph, Universal Music UK
Speaking about the launch, Charlotte Osborn-Forde, CEO at The National Academy For Social Prescribing, said: “Music can be a lifeline for people living with dementia and their carers, creating moments of joy and connection when so much else is hard to cope with. It is the perfect example of social prescribing and something that can have long-lasting impact on people’s wellbeing and take pressure off the NHS. But dementia choirs and local projects often find it hard to keep going from one month to the next, and they are rarely well connected to wider healthcare services, meaning lots of people miss out on the benefits. That’s why we plan to grow the Power of Music Fund over the coming years, so that we can support more of these projects, and help them link with local services such as GP practices. We want to help make music a standard part of dementia care – with doctors, link workers and others offering music-based activities and referring people to the Music Can platform.”
David Joseph, chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK, added: “I’m delighted to see the fund and Music Can platform launch today. Both initiatives are perfect examples of the power of music, bringing music and healthcare to together to support people’s wellbeing right across the country.”
Tony Christie, singer and champion for the Music For Dementia campaign, said: “I've always known that music could make a huge difference to a person’s happiness, and that belief has grown even stronger since I was diagnosed with dementia. I always recommend people in my position to sing if they’re able to or just listen to music. It’s a huge help. I am delighted to support these projects, which will help people diagnosed with dementia to access music more easily – whether they are joining a local choir or using the Music Can platform.”
You can revisit a guest editorial by Grace Meadows, campaign director, Music for Dementia and music therapist, here.
Photo: Carsten Windhorst