Singing for Memory

Singing for Memory Sessions are run by Grange Soroptimists on Thursdays at Allithwaite Community Centre for people and their carers who are living with dementia, memory issues or speech problems.

See below in red for  Autumn  2019 information.

Directions to Allithwaite community Centre included.below

Janice Welcoming everyone

Refreshments before the session


The Grange Soroptimists continue with their commitment to improve the lives of people  who are living with memory problems or have a diagnosis of dementia.  Research has shown that when communication through speech becomes difficult, people with dementia can still be actively involved in vocal expression through singing- especially through singing well known and familiar songs.  Singing for Memory largely uses familiar songs but also includes new pieces of music, so that it not only facilitates recall but also stimulates learning.

Members act as volunteers supporting the facilitators and it is a relaxed and friendly environment.  No singing experience or ability is required!

Anyone with memory problems, speech difficulty or a diagnosis of dementia is welcome and it is usual to be accompanied by a carer ( friend or family member)  but this can be discussed when ringing to  book.


   It is fine to join part way through a term!

The sessions are weekly and for Autumn term are  from September 5th 2019   until December 19th  except for October 24th which is half term.

Anyone interested in attending  needs to pre – book by contacting either  Isabel on 015395 36378 or Janice on 015395 58001.

 Don’t hesitate to ring if you have a query.

There is a nominal charge for the client and carer for each visit  ( currently £1.50 each) and in addition to the singing session there is an opportunity to chat during free  refreshments at the start and end of the session.

Having fun with the parachute













Janice and helpers pulling in the parachute!

Some of the volunteers ready to help

More volunteers


The Christmas Party 2018

Clients and Volunteers July 2019 celebrating winning award for best long term project


Some more of the Singing for Memory Team with Janice

The photographs above were taken at  sessions with the  consent of the group.

The Singing for Memory book and CD produced in 2018 and given to all clients

The 2019 book produced by popular demand and financed by generous donations


Quarry Lane ( off Church Rd) Allithwaite, nr Grange over Sands LA11 7QJ see below

From west   


A590  towards Kendal.

Turn right  at crossroads onto B5278 signed Cark

After 6 miles turn left  ( at Flookburgh pharmacy) at T junction B5277 signed Grange ( poor sign in centre of square )

After 1.5 miles at the pub ( formerly Guide over Sands and  renamed Yakker and now defunct)  turn left on to Church Rd signed Cartmel

Go up Church Rd approx 200yds and turn right into Quarry Lane  ( very small lane between the post office and Lantern shop)

Go down Quarry Lane (speed bumps ++) and Allithwaite Community centre is the last gateway on the left.

Ample parking adjacent to playing fields


From north via M6

Junction 36

At roundabout take 3rd exit A590 signed Barrow

After 3.5miles branch left then at roundabout take 1st exit A590 signed Barrow.

After 6 miles at roundabout  ( Meathop) take 1st exit  B5277 signed Grange

After 1.4 miles mini roundabout ( Lindale) turn left  B5277 signed Grange

After 1.6miles mini roundabout  1st exit signed Cartmel, Holker, Ulverston

After 0.4 miles mini roundabout at top of Crown Hill go straight over on to Esplanade signed Allithwaite Flookburgh, Cark

After 1.8 miles  at the pub (formerly Guide over Sands and  renamed Yakker and now defunct)  turn right on to Church Rd signed Cartmel

Go up Church Rd approx 200yds and turn right into Quarry Lane  ( very small lane between the post office and Lantern shop)

Go down Quarry Lane (speed bumps ++) and Allithwaite Community centre is the last gateway on the left.

Ample parking adjacent to playing fields


From north via Newby Bridge

At  Newby Bridge roundabout 1st exit A590 signed Kendal  and M6

After  1.1 miles turn right signed Cartmel **( opposite left turn to Staveley in Cartmel  and 200yds after sign saying Dual carriageway ½ mile ahead)

After   4.4 miles go past Cartmel Priory school on left ( not to be confused with Cartmel Primary School) then take 1st  left   at crossroads  signed Allithwaite and Grange

After   1.3 miles turn left  into Quarry Lane  ( very small lane between the  Lantern shop and post office)

Go down Quarry Lane (speed bumps ++) and Allithwaite Community centre is the last gateway on the left.

Ample parking adjacent to playing fields

** If you miss the right turn  continue along the A590 for  4.8 miles and at the first roundabout

( Meathop) take the 2nd exit signed Grange and follow the route on the “ from the M6 instructions”. Avoid taking other right turns signed to Cartmel off the A590 or you will probably get



Donations for Singing for Memory  are always gratefully received and help us to keep entrance costs down and provide some extras fot our clients.

Please send  cheques to our Treasurer Mrs Prue Kenley, 8 Yarlwell, Dalton in Furness LA15 8JJ  and  payable to Soroptimist Club Charity Account.            The money will be ringfenced for Singing for Memory. Donations can also be handed to Janice Carrick ( Singing leader ) or isabel Huggettt ( Administrator)


Singing for Memory wins the Best Practice Award in the Health section   at the Soroptimist Conference in Cardiff 2017

Presentation of the Best practice award to Janice, Isabel and Club President Mary Ann at Cardiff Conference 2017

Celebrating after Singing for Memory won the Best Practice award


Presentation on Singing for Memory  at the Soroptimist Conference in Malta  10-12 November 2016

Janice was asked to present our work at the Soroptimist Conference in Malta so 12 of our members travelled to Malta for the 2 day conference. The film taken diuring a session was shown and well received and we were pleased to share our experience with over 1,000 Soroptimists from many countries. Information for other clubs wishing to set up a similar project  can be obtained from  Janice  or Isabel. See information below

Janice ready to present

Janice ready to present

SI Grange delegates

SI Grange delegates























What is Singing for Memory?

It is a service run by Grange Soroptimists which uses singing to bring people with memory loss together in a friendly and stimulating environment. Sessions are weekly in blocks of 10 or 12.  Each session lasts between 1.5 – 2.0 hours and costs £1.50 for each participant.

There are two main elements –

  • using singing to reawaken memory and restore for at least a time a sense of identity. Sally Magnusson said of her mother “Someone starts you on a song and suddenly you are awake again, alive and remembering who you are”  (Where memories go  2014 ).  Music is the one thing dementia cannot destroy
  • reducing isolation and being able to be part of a group – the stigma of the word dementia keeps people isolated, both people living with dementia and their carer


  • Singing gives us the feel good factor – aerobic exercise which improves the respiratory function, Lowers stress and produces calmness, Raises immunoglobulins which boost the immune system
  • The benefit for carers – carer has the opportunity to relax their usual levels of heightened vigilance, as there are many eyes to help monitor and assist. Singing for Memory is one of the few environments away from home that is supportive and non- judgemental, peer support providing empathy , coping strategies and practical solution


In 2014 44 million people across the world and 850,000 people in the UK had been diagnosed with dementia.  2/3 of these are living in their own homes

The World Health Organisation estimates the global figure will reach 135 million by 2050.  That’s a new case every four seconds!

Two thirds of these are women, who are twice as likely to develop dementia as breast cancer

Research shows that dementia sufferers enjoy recalling and singing familiar songs, even when their speech and memory are impaired.

Using the research, The Alzheimer’s Society established Singing for the Brain (SFTB) – a carefully structured programme using music therapy techniques.


How Singing for Memory Came to Grange-over-Sands

In 2014, the club celebrated its 60th charter President Janice wanted to set up a sustainable project for the community. She chose SFTB because Grange is a rural retirement area with a very sizeable elderly population and she loves music.


The club was keen to support the project because women are more likely to be carers for dementia sufferers as well as sufferers themselves.

The Alzheimer’s Society had to be repeatedly pestered to allow the club to set up a pilot to prove the need for Singing for the Brain in the local community.

Singing for the Brain could only go ahead if our club raised the money to cover the costs of the training, the first block of sessions and any equipment we would need.

We raised over £3000 altogether through donations and fundraising.

Three of us trained to be Singing Leaders. 12 Club members trained to be volunteers and the whole club supported the fund raising efforts

Alison offered to organize the volunteers and refreshments, leaving Janice free to lead the singing sessions.


The first session was in October 2014

The original block of 10 sessions was so popular it extended to a further 5 blocks each of ten weeks

From the start, the participants both those with memory loss and their carers loved SFTB and became regular attenders – many are still with us today. SFTB is beneficial for carers as well as dementia sufferers – possibly more so!

In 2016, just as the money we had raised was running out, the Alzheimer’s Society told us that they were closing down SFTB to channel funds into research and could no longer endorse our group.

Carers, participants and volunteers were all devastated to think of the group ending, so we decided to set up a similar group of our own called Singing for Memory (SFM), which is going from strength to strength. The group is for anyone with memory problems brought about through illness, accident or age; not just people living with dementia

SFM is self- sustaining because it is run entirely voluntarily by a team of Soroptimists from Grange Club.  We have more participants than ever and everyone involved loves it and gets something worthwhile from the weekly sessions.

Format and Structure:

SFM is a carefully structured programme using music therapy techniques. The format is the same each week so that there is a recognisable framework

Same opening and ending songs are used at each session – these are set markers, anchors, and lessen any stress at the start and end of the session.  It is essential to have a team of a Singing Leader, an Administration Leader, and a group of trained volunteers who help with welcoming, refreshments, giving out song sheets and instruments and supporting the participants.

Welcome, registration and a half an hour of socialising, tea and coffee

An hour long session of singing with participants sat in a circle

Warm up exercises, breathing, relaxation and whole body preparation for singing

Everyone welcomed by name in a call and response song; followed by a welcome song

A familiar song from childhood

Learn new songs – It gives a real sense of achievement to learn something new

Part songs, rounds, layering and addition and subtraction songs – to increase concentration

Action songs – actions help with words but also stimulate body to brain connection

Passing objects around to help with peripheral awareness and left- right coordination

Reading clear lyrics and using pictures for association

Uses a variety of visual stimulation – bean bags, bubbles, parachute, pictures, percussion instruments, ribbon sticks

Half an hour at the end for coffee/tea/chat


SFM can help to give purpose and focus to the morning and can lead to attendees having a better day.  For the carers it is a real life line and a highlight of the week.

When it was thought that the sessions would not continue, Dee a carer sent us a card to “Team Soroptimists” that read

“Thank you so much for making it possible for us to continue singing, it is the highlight of our week and we really appreciate the hard work and commitment more than it is possible to put into words. You are all absolute heroines”

This is a project which has brought so much joy, learning and benefit both to the community and our club and is still gaining in momentum. The experience is uplifting for us all!

If you would like to know more please contact either

Janice Carrick 01539558001   – Singing Leader

Isabel Huggett 01539536378    –   Administration Leader