"Songs from a forgotten memory"


Our landmark project has been selected for public vote in the Aviva Community Fund for an award to allow Comhaltas to become Dementia Friendly















We will only be successful in this fund if we receive a high number of public votes. Please use the link below to vote for our project and help change the lives of Comhaltas members for generations to come!







As an organisation we teach music and song to hundreds of young people in Britain on a voluntary basis every week. We would like to equip our teachers and young people with the skills and knowledge to work with people living with dementia and their families and supporters to give back the music, song and culture to those who have lost or forgotten it because of the effects of illness. 

The Irish community in Britain is distinctive, with a higher proportion of people above 55 and particularly beyond pension age than in the general or minority ethnic populations. It is estimated that around 10,000 Irish people in England experience dementia. That the power of music, especially singing, can trigger memories and kick start the grey matter is an increasingly key feature of dementia care. Music can soothe, stimulate and bring to mind long-forgotten memories. For many members of the Irish community they are linked by shared experience from their past, from a shared culture and a particular familiarity with Irish music and song. Traditional Irish music and song is part of a strong oral tradition and many of these elderly Irish will have played their part in passing on the songs, stories and music they heard from their parents around the house when they were small. Music, songs and stories which although having been passed on have been forgotten as a result of living with dementia. 
We want to look at this passing on of culture not only as something for future generations but also as a tool in supporting those who live with dementia today. As an organisation which involves many generations working together we aim to become a fully dementia friendly organisation and will do so through training for our leaders and young people, as well as producing and providing support material for them and the community to help stimulate and bring comfort to those living with dementia. The project will also see us working with those living with dementia to discover the songs which they learnt growing up, songs which trigger memories and show peoples individual stories, then sharing these songs and stories with others.

© Comhaltas in Britain 2020

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