Ian Ramsey CE Academy Pupils sing with service users at the Dementia Hub Christmas Party in Thornaby. (Picture: Keith Blundy)

A choir from Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy in Stockton have been doing the rounds in the community this Christmas spreading Christmas cheer. One of their visits was to the Dementia Hub in Thornaby that caters to people living with Dementia and their carers. The Ian Ramsey Community Choir joined in with the Hub’s Christmas Party on Friday 15th December, singing and chatting with them and helping to ensure that the festivities were enjoyed by all.

Mrs Liz Brewer, Head of Creative Arts and leader of the choir, said: “We have been visiting care homes for a few years but I also wanted to offer our singing for people living with Dementia and their carers. This is our fourth visit to the Dementia Hub in Thornaby, the first being in 2015.

“I have always been interested in how music can reduce stress levels, and improve emotional well being. Research has shown that music can act as an important cue for memory, reinforce our sense of identity,  and help us to connect with those dear to us.

“Our aim is to sing with people; not just to perform. It is a joy and privilege to share our love of singing with people living with dementia and their family and friends. It is lovely to see people joining together in song. The pupils are a credit to the school. Some of them have or will have grandparents living with dementia and these visits are an important  life experience.”

One pupil in the choir commented: “Visiting the care homes and Dementia support groups this Christmas was not only humbling but also a moving experience. Coming closer to our community and supporting the older generation allows memories to be made and passed on. For many people, it made Christmas a lot less lonely and happier. It was a great experience and opportunity.”

Another pupil said that being in the Community Choir is an amazing experience and that it was lovely to see the people who live in the care homes join in with us. This experience was underlined by a member of the choir who said: “They all seemed so pleased to see us and wanted to thank us for coming. They even held our hands and chatted with us. It made me so happy to hear we had made their day special.”

Lucy McCormack, Dementia Care Coordinator for the Hub said: “We have had the pleasure of the choir visiting and singing with us on a number of occasions. These events are a huge success and this is due to the Choir and the music that enriches us all.

The feedback that we get from our carers and those with dementia attending has been overwhelming.”

The choir which comprises of pupils from Years 8-11 also visited Shotley Park Care Home in County Durham.