Brighton & Hove Dementia Conference


On Thursday myself and my Open Strings Music Co-Directors attended the Brighton & Hove Dementia Conference at the Amex stadium. The purpose of the event was to launch the new early-stage dementia services commissioned by Brighton & Hove CCG, one of which was Open Strings Music's Sing Healthy Play Happy'

The event was so up-lifting and the venue was absolutely buzzing with energy. Everyone who was there was so because they feel passionate about helping those people affected by dementia. The event was hosted by the Clinical Commissioning Group and after a very delicious networking lunch, dementia Commissioner Gemma Dawson, delivered a presentation showing all of the organisations that have been commissioned to provide early intervention dementia services. In addition to Sing Healthy Play Happy, this range of services included the Alzheimer's Society's Singing For the Brain and Memory Support Service, The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership and Impact Initiatives Hop50 program. Also launched was the Dementia Action Alliance, which is a steering group made up of key local organisations, working together to ensure dementia awareness is raised significantly in Brighton & Hove, as well as striving to achieve many other health and well-being outcomes for people living with dementia in our city.

It was a celebration for all the hard work Isabel, Emma and I have put in over the last three years; from Sing Healthy Play Happy's infancy of setting up and launching our first group through to the very in-depth tender process we embarked on in order to become one of the selected services.

During the break our stand was inundated with people interested in what Open Strings Music is all about and in particular, questions about how people with dementia and carers can be referred to one of our Sing Healthy Play Happy groups. It felt like a really positive step forward for our Community Interest Company and a very significant day where we had been recognised for the health and well-being benefits that music-making can offer people with dementia.

The holistic meeting of minds between the creative arts and medical profession felt very prevalent and exciting. During the event there was a long section dedicated to mingling with those sitting at your table whereby we were given the task of discussing what challenges and solutions there are to working together in order to improve dementia care in Brighton & Hove. At my table were social workers, accountants, GPs, mental health nurses, support workers, sport & recreation leaders, and there I was, a musician! So many different professions and backgrounds, all coming together to talk about how we can better serve the people living in our city with, and affected by, dementia.

What a privilege it was to be a part of this event and meet so many inspiring people. I left the AMEX stadium tingling with excitement about what is to come for our project Sing Healthy Play Happy and the many people living in our city with dementia and their carers. Let the music making begin!

A dementia services road map showing the many teams and organisations across Brighton & Hove, coming together to support those with and affected by dementia.

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