The heart and soul of the groups are the singers, but volunteers are vital, whether as musical leaders or as social support. Success depends on a high ratio of volunteers to participants and the workload is relatively light and certainly enjoyable.
Social support is provided by people with training in dementia awareness. Practical tasks for these volunteers include: setting out chairs, welcoming singers, making and giving out name-labels, social support, organising refreshments and washing up, photocopying songsheets, taking charge of songbooks between sessions, ringing in advance to remind singers and other volunteers.
Music leaders need a knowledge and understanding of dementia. Music therapy skills are ideal, but certainly not essential. Practical tasks include: choosing music and devising the neuro-rehab exercises, leading warm-ups, accompanying or organising accompaniment of the songs, producing clearly-written word sheets. A friendly, non-condescending manner is essential to build a trusting and cohesive group.
‘Apprenticeship’ training for new volunteers is provided with existing groups.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact one of the organisations hosting current sessions; or if you would like more information please firstname.lastname@example.org
We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.