HMT Sancta Maria has committed to funding the Swansea-based Musical Memories Choir for the fourth year running, pledging £12,000 to safeguard the immediate future of the choir.
The Musical Memories Choir is a weekly group for people living with dementia in Swansea and those who care for them. The choir meets in West Cross and Manselton. Sancta Maria had previously supported the group with £27,000 of funding over the past three years.
HMT Sancta Maria Hospital Director, Geoff Bailey, commented: “As a not-for-profit organisation we are always looking at the best ways to invest our surplus funds back into the local community. The Musical Memories choir is a shining example of some of the wonderful work being undertaken within communities in Swansea to help bring people together and combat issues such as living with dementia.”
Since Sancta Maria began funding the choir, the number of members has doubled, with 50 people now regularly attending the weekly meeting in Manselton as well as a further 80 active members in West Cross.
Helen Hunter, who runs the group, said the funding has been crucial in helping the choir to flourish. She commented: “Whereas in the past we have had to devote a lot of time to search for outside funding, the on-going commitment from Sancta Maria has afforded us the opportunity to focus purely on the choir itself and ensure our members get as much out of it as they possibly can.
“For many of our members, attending the sessions are the highlight of their week. They come together to share life with one another, support each other and simply be reminded that they are not alone. The choir allows us to shift the perception that people with dementia have to be suffering from it and focus on how many people are actually ‘living with it’. It gives them a sense of ownership, belonging and an identity.”
John and Rita Pickard, a husband and wife from West Cross who are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this year, joined the choir two years ago. Rita had been involved in singing solo as well as part of choirs for most of her adult life but had to stop due to illness. John said: “When I first brought Rita along I was simply going to sit in the corner with a book whilst she took part, but we both loved it so much that every week we are now both here singing along. It gets us out of the house and gives us the chance to meet new faces all the time, many of whom have become dear friends.”
The HMT Sancta Maria funded Musical Memories choir meet twice a week, every Tuesday at Christwell Church in Manselton and every Friday in Linden Church in West Cross, both at 11 am. Attendance is free.
For more information on HMT Sancta Maria and their not-for-profit work visit www.hmtsanctamaria.org