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Inspiration Day - January 2024

Music in Mind
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On 11th January 2024, Music in Mind held its first Inspiration Day at Gorton Monastery, home of Manchester Camerata and the Gorton Music in Mind Café. The Inspiration Day was hugely valuable and a wonderful success for all involved. It was designed to allow voices to be heard from across the communities and environments we work in, sharing personal stories that will enable us to take Music in Mind from strength to strength in 2024.

All our existing Music Champions were invited to join the Inspiration Day, to participate in workshops, exercises and presentations that were all about sharing, learning, and creating connections. As well as Music Champions, we also enjoyed the insights and expertise of the musicians and music therapists who have been delivering Music in Mind support for people living with dementia and their carers.

“This first Inspiration Day truly delivered on all expectations and more! It is a testament to how committed and engaged our Music Champions are to that so many of them found time to attend. Also a testament to the support that they have received from their employers and managers to allow them time out of their normal working duties to continue their training.”

The morning of the Inspiration Day focused on enhancing the training of our musicians and music therapists. It was very important to us to allow them to share their experiences of delivering Music in Mind and training Music Champions since the live delivery began in April 2022. Their feedback and perspectives are vital in our continued development and strategy. It will not only inform our training programme delivery but will also allow us to create and improve mentoring and support models for all our practitioners.

At midday we were joined by our Music Champions. We now have over 70 Music Champions delivering support for people living with dementia across Oldham, Wigan & Leigh, Manchester and Rochdale, and 40 of those Champions were able to join us for our first ‘in person’ inspiration day.

Throughout the afternoon we heard personal testimonies and presentations from Music Champions in three different sites:

Caroline Pheasey – Care Market Training Coordinator

Music in Mind have partnered with Rochdale Mind at Khubsuret House supported living environment to deliver the Music Champions training programme. Caroline, a Music Champion herself working in Adult Care and Support with Rochdale Borough Council, shared her own insights and experiences, including how Music Champions at this site have adapted the programme to suit people living with dementia with a South Asian heritage. You can learn more about our specific work at this site here.

Kat Harding – Doctor Kershaw’s Wellbeing Centre Manager

Kat explained the amazing benefits that Music in Mind has been having at Dr Kershaw’s in Oldham, enabling them to add a Music Café as part of the support they have been proving for people living with dementia who are still living at home with family carers. Five volunteers and paid carers, including Kat, are now being supported to be Music Champions at Dr Kershaw’s. The impact the programme is having in this setting is hugely inspiring, and it has been very easy for the centre to incorporate Music in Mind into its support programme.

Beth Forster – Millennium Care Homes

Beth has been working with Music in Mind for over three years and has loved being able to help the programme spread throughout the Millennium Care group. She now runs music groups in five different Millennium Care homes, and we are so proud to support her in bringing the benefits of Music in Mind to all these people.

Looking to the future

The Inspiration Day was every bit as inspiring at we’d hoped for all involved. We are always so blown away by the dedication and enthusiasm of our musicians, music therapists and Music Champions. We will continue to support them to deliver their own music groups for people living with dementia and their carers.

Our support will be found through online training, where all our Music Champions will come together as a community of practice, continuing their learning with musicians and music therapists. Our website will also be equipped with valuable resources for their training, musical tracks and new ways to communicate with and support each other. We will of course also continue our regular in person training and hope to offer many more support and community days, like our Inspiration Day, in the coming weeks, months and years.

Jill Taylor, Partnerships Manager at Music in Mind says:

“A really important part of the Music Champions programme is to create that genuine community of support between the Music Champions themselves, so that they can meet other carers, whether they are volunteers, family carers or paid carers in care homes, we are all on the same journey to develop new skills and understanding to be able to support the people with dementia in our care.

It was really valuable as well for our musicians and Music Therapists to be able to spend quality time with the Music Champions as we continue to develop and expand our programme. We can’t wait for the next one!”