Music For Dignity®

Sunbeams Music For Dignity® Projects

What is Music For Dignity®?

Our Music For Dignity® programme started as a pilot in West Cumbria as part of the Big Lottery Silver Dreams project (funded by The Big Lottery and The Daily Mail). Specialist community musicians now deliver weekly music sessions to physically disabled adults attending 2 Day Centres in West Cumbria. Music sessions are also provided for older people with varying forms of dementia living in Care Homes in the area. These projects have been running in 27 Care Homes across Cumbria, many of them monthly, for the last 28 years.

What happens in a session?

A Music For Dignity® pilot is currently underway in West Cumbria as part of the Big Lottery Silver Dreams project (funded by The Big Lottery and The Daily Mail). Specialist community musicians deliver weekly music sessions to physically disabled adults attending a Day Centre in rural West Cumbria. Music sessions are also provided for older people with varying forms of dementia living in Care Homes in the area. Other projects have been running in 27 Care Homes across Cumbria, many of them monthly, for over 25 years.

Where are the sessions?

Music For Dignity® projects are now running in venues throughout Cumbria and at the Sunbeams Music Centre as part of our infamous “Songs and Scones” sessions! They are a true highlight for our elderly beneficiaries. We tease them that they just come for the scones!  But they drop their zimmer frames  down in the reception, almost RUN into the Performance Hall and sing and rock an’ roll all afternoon! To Will on the piano playing Chuck Berry, Elvis, maybe a softer one by Neil Diamond and Jim Reeves. Many don’t know their own names – but they know every word of songs from the ‘50s and ‘60’s.

What will I get from it?

Music For Dignity® workshops promote independence, improve well-being and enhance quality of life by…

  • Improving self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Provide an alternative therapeutic approach for people to cope with life-changes
  • Decreasing feelings of loneliness, discrimination and social exclusion
  • Improving skills.
  • Building self-belief and maintaining a person’s dignity
  • Providing a non-verbal form of communication for dementia sufferers, for whom communication is difficult
  • Giving carers and family members an opportunity to engage with their residents (service users) on an equal footing – enjoying the music together and strengthening relationships within the care setting.

What do people say about Music For Dignity®?

Comments from those involved in the project include:

“It’s so wonderful when we all get together like this… when are you coming back?” – Woman with severe dementia

“I know how much both the service users and staff enjoy the sessions and you would be greatly missed if the sessions were to end.” – Care Home Manager

“Singing with the Silver Liners brings me so much joy and happiness it makes me feel good when people come to watch our shows and join in and get so much enjoyment out of it. Singing lifts my spirits when I feel down and gives me something to look forward to. I thank Sunbeams and the big lottery for the opportunity to enable me to take part in an activity that brings so much to my life. Thank you” – Silver Dreams participant

“The pressure of the fun around you springs up and you come out of your shell and become part of the environment again. [The mood is infectious you mean?] Yes! We all sort of find a slot. It’s great – it’s something going on – this is where the artistes are!” – Day Care User with severe dementia

“I don’t want to be here anymore – music is the only thing that keeps me going” – Day Centre User with dementia

“You needn’t die of boredom round here! It’s a good idea this! I like music… I played piano… there was wonderful music in them days… the war songs! I take things as they come and don’t think about the future – I’d be gone otherwise.” – Care home resident with dementia