Horsham-based musicians receive new grant for work in dementia care

New Harmonie
New Harmonie

The Foyle Foundation has given Horsham-based New Harmonie another generous grant to enable a quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn) to continue to bring its music into dementia care.

As New Harmonie spokesman Geoffrey Richardson explains, the players use live music as the medium with therapeutic benefit for patients and carers

“For up to 25 people with dementia there will be a programme over several months of exercise, singing, dancing, reminiscing, listening, music-making and relaxation with both classical and modern music.

“They appreciate having quality music, are stimulated by interactions with players and captivated by the quintet sound.

“In our experience live music has a much more positive effect than recorded music upon the well-being of those with mental illness. The group will be working once a month in Mill View Care Centre East Grinstead. Continuity is an added benefit. When patients ask ‘are you coming back?’ players can say ‘yes’, giving hope.”

The group carefully evaluates all its work with patients, carers and staff.

On recent visits to Mill View examples of patient comments were: “I am so glad you are coming back. I am really looking forward to it already”; “The music was lovely and really cheered me up”; “Come as many times as you like”; “ On a scale of one to five, I’d give you six”; “Loved it. Loved to just listen”; “I used to go to the pub and listen to the music there”; “Loved the singing. Know all the words. Really enjoyed”; and “Yes, I remember the songs.”

Geoffrey, who leads New Harmonie, added: “Sussex has the highest prevalence of dementia care in England, with an estimated 3,000 people living with dementia in Worthing alone. The need for the sort of work we do is huge.

“Care centres couldn’t afford to engage New Harmonie so we depend upon charities like the Foyle Foundation to support us. Those with severe dementia can’t go to performing arts events. We have to go to them.

“Why shouldn’t these lovely people have nothing but the very best?

“The Foyle Foundation and other charities make this possible – for which we are truly grateful.”

Visit www.newharmonie.org.uk to find out more.

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