A SINGING group for people with dementia and their carers returned to bring Christmas cheer to shoppers, a year after they first sang in public at Stretford Mall.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s Old Trafford Singing for the Brain group was set up to help members improve their memory and concentration.

Their very first public session a year ago at Stretford Mall proved a huge hit and now the Singing for the Brain group has returned to thank staff and shoppers for their support.

They performed a selection of seasonal favourites in a one-and-a-half-hour event which saw many delighted shoppers stop to listen, and even join in.

Also present were the Deputy Mayor of Trafford, Cllr Judith Lloyd, and Cllr Joanne Harding, Trafford Council’s Shadow Executive Member for Adult Social Services and Wellbeing, who have both been firm supporters of the choir.

Linda Pine, a volunteer with the Trafford branch of the Alzheimer’s Society and a Dementia Friend who orchestrated Singing for the Brain’s Christmas event at Stretford Mall, said the group was delighted to be back.

“It was all about bringing people together in a friendly social environment and we also wanted to bring a bit of Christmas cheer to the Stretford Mall, which has always been so good to us,” she said.

“Another thing we wanted to show is that life doesn’t end when dementia begins and when people are no longer able to remember people’s names or faces, they can often still remember the words of songs.”

The group, which has between 20 and 25 regular members, meets up for a couple of hours of rehearsals every Friday afternoon at St John’s Church Centre in Ayres Road, Old Trafford.

Linda added: “Singing for the Brain is a programme developed by Alzheimer’s Society for people with memory problems.

“The programme promotes communication through singing which can help with articulation, concentration, focus and motivation.

Manchester Singing for the Brain sang carols in Stretford Mall on Friday. Pictured is  Linda Pine, a volunteer who helped organise the event,
Manchester Singing for the Brain sang carols in Stretford Mall on Friday. Pictured is Linda Pine, a volunteer who helped organise the event,

“The Trafford Alzheimer’s Society started the Singing for the Brain group at St John’s Church Centre about two years ago.

“Last year’s Christmas session at Stretford Mall was the first time the group had sung in public and it went very well. It was great to be asked back there again this year.

“I’m grateful for the on-going support we receive from Stretford Mall, especially Love Coffee who once again kindly closed off part of their cafe for us to sing in.

“It was also good to see the Deputy Mayor coming along with Cllr Joanne Harding because both are supporters of the local Alzheimer’s Society and Cllr Harding is also a Dementia Friend.

Gareth Wilkins, Manager of Stretford Mall, said: “We are firmly committed to promoting the understanding of dementia so we were delighted to heed the call from many of our customers to have the Singing for the Brain group back.

Manchester Singing for the Brain sang carols in Stretford Mall
Manchester Singing for the Brain sang carols in Stretford Mall

If you have any concerns about dementia, you can call the helpline on 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk

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