Ahead of Dementia Action Week (20-26 May), the Copper Box Arena opened its doors to 200 people living with dementia, and their carers, to enjoy an afternoon of live music and dancing.
Singing for the Brain events are designed to use singing to bring people with dementia together in a friendly and stimulating activity.
Research has long suggested that music and singing can be beneficial to people living with dementia, aiding brain activity, lifting mood and even evoking emotion, which can in turn, evoke memories.
The iconic Copper Box Arena, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is operated by GLL - under the Better brand - which works in partnership with Alzheimer’s Society, providing regular Singing for the Brain sessions across the UK.
This special mass participation event took place as part of Hackney’s Dementia Festival (16–29 May), which includes a range of events, to celebrate the involvement of people living with dementia in arts, culture and recreation.
Visitors from Hackney and neighbouring boroughs, including Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest were joined by special guests, including Speaker for Hackney, Claire Potter; Councillor Yvonne Maxwell, Hackney Council’s Dementia Champion, Deputy Speaker for Hackney Kam Adams and London Assembly Member, Jeannette Arnold.
Musicians were on hand to lead the session, performing classic numbers as participants took to the dancefloor to sing and dance along. Some even took the chance to have their own moment in the spotlight, taking to the mic to perform their favourite songs to their peers.
Also performing on the day, were pupils from Clapton Girls Academy, who also joined in with the fun on the dance floor, as part of Alzheimer’s Society’s initiative to encourage intergenerational activities, in an effort to create a more dementia-friendly society, for people to maintain an active life, whilst living with dementia.
Caitlin Thomas, Corporate Health Manager at GLL said: “We are delighted to welcome so many visitors from across London to the Copper Box Arena, for another successful Singing for the Brain event.
“At GLL, we believe people living with dementia should continue to stay active, living purposeful lives; doing the things that they want to do and we are proud to work alongside Alzheimer’s Society to provide accessible activities in the communities that we serve.”
Harry Johnson, Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Community Coordinator for Hackney said:
“We’re proud of the partnership between our Dementia Friendly Hackney Project and GLL, whose staff have all received some basic training on dementia. This came through in the patience, thoughtfulness and support they showed on the day."
Cllr Yvonnne Maxwell, Councillor for Hoxton West ward and Dementia Champion, said: “The Big Singing for the Brain event was a fantastic start to Hackney's Dementia Festival, designed specifically for people living with dementia. I would like to say a big thank you to the Alzheimer's Society, GLL and all of our partner organisations who have helped pull together a great programme of events for people with dementia and their loved ones to be included and involved in their community. We are committed to continue developing Hackney as a dementia-friendly borough and proud to be leading the way together with our partners to improve services for our residents."
For more information on Singing for the Brain, click here.