Used to support WellSpring Singing at Margery Girling House, Felixstowe.
The funding secured will enable the project to run for another full year. A flyer has been created for the term ahead.
During January, Tracy Sharp will make contact with the two possible singing volunteers and gauge their interest and capacity to get involved in some mentoring training Music In Our Bones is planning.
The last session in December had 24 attendees including a couple in their 90s, a Dad in his 60s who has Parkinson’s disease (he finds the singing helps both his posture and the strength of his voice) and he brings his son who has moderate learning difficulties with him. His son spoke movingly of the way that being part of the group has given him a sense of purpose and makes him feel much more confident. A carer of a daughter with severe learning difficulties a couple in their 80s suffering from arthritis plus several older single people from Margery Girling most with serious mobility issues who really enjoy the chance to leave their flats and have some very social and fun musical time as they can feel very isolated in the evenings especially when everything else stops.
“Jane changed name) is 72 and was encouraged by a friend to join WellSpring’s singing group as a way of having some time for herself as she is caring for her much older husband in his 80s with Alzheimer’s and seldom able to get out. The isolation of caring for someone with dementia, when friends stop visiting as they don’t know how to cope, was especially hard for Jane who is a naturally social person. How can you make new friends and meet new people when you are unable to leave the home? Early evening proved to be a small window of time that Jane could use. She arrived saying ‘ I can’t sing a note and don’t know why I’m here!’ She returned however, having loved her first session, smiling and saying how good it had been for her as ‘for two whole hours I didn’t think about my husband’ and how beneficial that mental break had been, meaning she returned to her caring role a little restored and feeling she had more to give. When a volunteer had to leave who previously ran the refreshments for the evening, Jane and her friend in her 80s stepped forward to take on the task enjoying the responsibility and social aspect of their job, and never missing a session. Jane also heard about Suffolk Family carers through the group, made contact, and was encouraged to have two respite breaks a year to ensure that she continued to be able to offer her husband the life at home he wanted. Without the group, she would not have realised that she was entitled to a Carers Assessment and funding to help pay for such breaks. Her husband’s dementia meant that he wouldn’t accept ‘strangers’ into the home so Jane was becoming increasingly exhausted with broken nights as well as tough days managing his double incontinence. Her respite breaks were essential in allowing her to carry on caring without destroying her own health. Recently, sadly, her husband’s condition has deteriorated still further requiring spells in hospital and now he does need nursing care. Throughout these difficult weeks however singing has clearly been an important and joyful life-line for Jane. She even managed to join the group for the Big Sing in between hospital visits. Photos show her revelling in the company of her new singing friends. WellSpring’s sense of community, singing bringing people together to share their lives in a profound sense, has led to rich connections being formed between members which Jane in particular this year has especially needed. Singing with new singing friends opened out the world again to jane and offered her important nourishing support through difficult and dark times, enabling her to sustain a very demanding caring role and to extend the time she could cope alone at home with her husband’s care as she always hoped to do.”