Why We Do It: Research over the past few years has identified the huge benefit that music can have on people living with dementia. Three separate studies, conducted between 2017–2019, found evidence of multiple specific benefits of music therapy to those living with dementia, even to the extent of reducing the need for antipsychotic drug treatments and hospital stays. There are a growing number of organisations in the UK that are working to make music a feature of dementia care, but evidence suggests that (pre-Covid) music therapy availability equates to roughly 30 seconds a week per dementia sufferer. WVMiM hopes to be able to increase that availability in the Forest of Dean and Monmouthshire, in collaboration with young musicians and local organisations. In working with younger and more recently qualified musicians – those hardest hit by the Covid pandemic – we aim to provide vital assistance to them at the start of their professional careers. We hope to build close ties with both the RWCMD and the University of South Wales in order that we can build on this programme in the future. The support that both organisations have given us already has been invaluable.
For 2021: We launch our pilot-scheme this summer in partnership with Severn View Local Authority Care Home, Chepstow, with a programme of three music outreach sessions and one music therapy session. Wye Valley Music has received generous private sponsorship to support this new venture.
And Beyond: We plan to secure further funding and extend our programme across the Lower Wye Valley, in both Care Home and Community settings.
Participants with whom we are working in 2021
Nikkila Thomas – vocalist
Cerys Rees – harpist
Vicky Guise – Music Therapist
Severn View Local Authority Care Home, Chepstow
Head of Day Care services, Monmouthshire County Council
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
University of South Wales, Music Therapy Department