Dementia friendly church hailed at Holyrood
Published on 8 June, 2017
Church volunteers who help transform the lives of people living with dementia have been congratulated in the Scottish Parliament.
Cross-party MSPs have applauded Springburn Parish Church in Glasgow for running the weekly Singing for the Brain Musical Memories group.
They acknowledged that the project brings “happiness to those living with dementia and their family members and carers”.
Research has shown that the memory of music is one of the last things to disappear in people living with the condition.
Around 45 people take part in the traditional Scottish song singing project each week.
Volunteers say the participants, who are generally unresponsive, come alive during the two-hour session.
Popular songs include I am a Cat, a Glesga Cat, Ye Cannae Shove Yer Grannie aff a Bus and Wild Mountain Thyme.
A total of 13 MSPs have signed a motion lodged by Bob Doris, MSP for Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, who recently visited the project.
In a letter to Rev Brian Casey, minister of Springburn Parish Church, the politician wrote: “I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the group and taking part in the sing song of the great old classic Hokey Cokey.”
The motion states: “That the Parliament recognises the good work of the volunteer-run Singing for the Brain Musical Memories group based at Springburn Parish Church every Monday afternoon.
“Notes the dedication of Brian Smith, along with 12 volunteers, who run the fun musical therapy project, which provides live music for people living with dementia and their families and friends.
“Notes that many people from care homes based in areas such as Stobhill, Milton, Springburn and Bishopbriggs come together with their families and carers to enjoy traditional Scottish songs.”
Mr Casey said: “I am very pleased that our project has been recognised in the Scottish Parliament.
“It is a great opportunity for the church locally to show what we can do for the community when we throw our doors open rather than sitting inside looking out.
“The project has been going very well and is encouraging that the volunteers have been able to help and enthuse people living with dementia and their families.
“It is having a positive impact because people come in uncommunicative and it transforms them.
“They and their families leave really happy with beaming smiles and look forward to coming back the following week.”
Springburn Parish Church has easy to read dementia friendly signs up on display – a yellow background with black writing.