Music project a winner for Belfast Trust in Dementia Friendly Awards


A musical memories project that saw Belfast Trust collaborating with the Oh Yeah Music Centre has won an award for the Outstanding Contribution it has made to creating a more dementia friendly Northern Ireland.

The Dementia Friendly Awards were organised by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Fiona McGettigan, Belfast Trust Activity Coordinator for Older People's Services, worked with Oh Yeah Music Centre’s outreach project to bring music workshops to people with dementia in day centres and residential care homes.
With funding from the Arts Council, Oh Yeah’s Paul Kane worked with Fiona to run more than 60 music workshops focusing on music from the 1960s, but including any music that participants particularly related to.
Fiona said that music reaches people in ways that other activities, prompting reminiscence and memories and helping people whose communication has been impaired by dementia to express themselves.
People who normally sat watching television became active and involved, with one man who hadn’t played guitar in years taking over Paul’s role in one session.
IPod shuffles loaded with 60 songs used in the groups were also introduced, enabling people to listen to music when groups are not on or when they are unable to participate.
Paul also introduced iPads set up with virtual musical instruments. The residents can play on these and their tunes are recorded, and then used during the music sessions
Fiona said she is very proud of the work that has been put into the workshops, but that it was also a very enriching experience for her.
She added, “Seeing musicians who haven’t played for years lifting an instrument again, and seeing the joy that brought them, that was very rewarding.”