£500 Makes Musical Memories

Musical Memory Lane, based in Luton, have received £500 for a Zoom license, a web camera and printing of copyright music material. The group’s Linda Davies details how much donation means to them;

What a difference a donation from the Masonic Charitable Covid-19 Fund will make to those with Dementia and their carers by bringing music and regular contact with the outside world back into their lives.

Music 24 is a registered charity (Registered Charity number: 1182196), offering music therapy and other music related activities as a creative outlet for people who are socially isolated and vulnerable. Musical Memory Lane is one of their groups and provides a weekly activity morning for those with Dementia and their carers. The group usually meets in Luton on a weekly basis for a fun filled morning of singing, dancing, conversation and lots of tea and cake. It provides a much needed support network and friendship to all those who attend and is run entirely by a group of volunteers.

Two weeks before lockdown officially started we had to cancel the group (as two members who attended the previous week thought they may have Covid 19). Little did we know this would be just the start of a very extended period of closure. They were all devastated as the group is an essential lifeline to so many of them.

We decided to put twenty of their favourite songs into a songbook and put a copy of the songs on to a disc so they could listen and home and sing together ‘in spirit’ on a Tuesday morning and delivered these to them at home. We have a very active WhatsApp group for Musical Memory Lane and the word Zoom started to appear. Could we do this? Would they cope with the technology? Well the answer was yes we could and indeed we did. We had a few teething problems but we did it. It started with one 40 minute session a week (that is all you can have on free Zoom) and that has now increased to three 40 minute sessions each week. They sing the songs from the book but they love to chat with each other and for many it is the highlight of their week. I think they would stay on all day if they could!

The funding we have received from the Masonic Charitable Foundation Covid-19 Fund is brilliant and will make a real difference for this group. It is envisaged that it will be a long time before the group can re-convene as many of them have underlying health issues and will be unable to understand social distancing rules. We will pay for Zoom for one year which means we can then have unlimited Musical Memory Lane Zoom sessions (instead of having to keep logging in which some find quite challenging). We have produced a new songbook with 50 songs in, many of which are new to the group, and will get these printed off and put into folders. We will put all the songs on to a disc and these will be delivered to group members with the songbook so they can practice at home before Zoom sessions. This will help the carers to provide an activity to engage those they care for which is much needed. The purchase of a web camera and microphone will really improve the management and quality of Zoom meetings as that will be done on a PC instead of a mobile phone.

The funding we have been so generously been given will fund all of the costs for this and will ensure that the support continues and develops for those who need it so very much in these very challenging times. For many, the meetings are the highlight of their week – the comments from the WhatsApp group below shows just how much it means to them all:

 “Thank you for organising it. Me and mum enjoyed it so much. So lovely to have a sing and see everyone. Miss you all so much.”

 “Thank you so much for bringing us all together – it means so much

 “It really does us good to see everybody. This is a fantastic group because you keep us all in touch with each other and that has become so important to me as weeks go by. Big, big thank you. I will be clapping for you on Thursday!”

 “So good to see you all – it gave me a much needed lift. Many thanks”

Thank you so much to Bedfordshire Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Trust for helping us to make a difference.

Linda Davies (Lead Volunteer, Musical Memory Lane)

Watch the video to see the group in action; Video

Find out more about Music 24’s work here