Forget Me Notes
The Forget Me Notes Project is an Edinburgh-based charity that uses music to build community, combat social isolation and encourage self expression. They work with people living with dementia, their carers and older people at risk of isolation. The charity has developed a range of services including running a dementia-friendly community choir, Music Memory Sessions in care homes and community settings, and delivering staff training in care homes. Before the pandemic the 26 choir members met once a fortnight.
The outbreak of the pandemic caused their face-to-face services, including all choir sessions to stop almost overnight which meant the team had to think quickly of ways to continue to support the mental wellbeing of their community, through music. With the help of funding from the NET Coronavirus Appeal, through Foundation Scotland, they were able to not only continue their services but increase the number of choir sessions run to twice a week. They adapted their service and started virtual choir sessions, singing songs chosen by members that bring back particular memories.
Paul Barfoot, Co-CEO of the Forget Me Notes Project, said “I have always had a passionate belief that music can be used as a tool to help people express themselves. I saw this very clearly in my training as a music therapist. I have been particularly struck that, especially for people living with dementia, it is possible for someone to lose language and the ability to speak yet be able to sing lyrics to a song. Music also brings people together and it has been wonderful to see how, during this awful year where so many people have been so isolated, our Zoom choir has helped (in a small way) to build and maintain community, allowing people to express themselves, share memories, get to know each other and feel better.”