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Suzanne Cheal leads a singing session with dementia sufferers.

Suzanne Cheal leads a singing session with dementia sufferers.

New singing clubs open for dementia sufferers

Despite funding difficulties, Dementia Support East Sussex (DSES) is pushing ahead with its mission of providing singing opportunities for people suffering from dementia, with several new clubs about to open. Nick Terdre reports.

Two new clubs are due to open this month – at the ETC Day Centre in Marlborough House in St Leonards on Wednesday 10 May and the Isabel Blackman Centre in Hastings on Tuesday 16 May. A third will start at the Charter Centre in Bexhill on Monday 12 June.

DSES now has 17 clubs running and future ones in the pipeline in Hailsham and Eastbourne, chair Cliff Slack tells HOT. Clubs may be organised in care homes, though they are not restricted to residents, or public venues, and have proved very popular. Dementia sufferers and their carers are welcome to attend.

Breaking the isolation barrier

Importantly, and the major reason for Cliff launching DSES a couple of years ago, the singing sessions also give dementia sufferers the opportunity for social conviviality, in place of the isolation their illness usually condemns them to.

However, Cliff admits that finding the modest amount of funding required to keep the project going is proving difficult. “I spend most of my time looking for possible sources, but everyone is chasing the same funds,” he says.

DSES has a couple of tutors to lead the singing sessions. One of them is Suzanne Cheal, a professional actor and singer. This week saw the last performance of Suzanne’s inter-active Dame Vera Lynn tribute show in the wake of the World War II star’s 100th birthday earlier this year.

Suzanne dressed the part, with 1940s frock and hair-do, and the show went down very well with the audiences, many of whom remember those times. Altogether she performed the show 11 times, finishing last Monday at Bay House in Bexhill.

Club openings in Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill

Wednesday 10 May, 10.30am-noon ETC Day Centre, Marlborough House, 23/29 Warrior Square, St Leonards-on-Sea
Tuesday 16 May, 10.30am-noon Isabel Blackman Centre, Winding St, Hastings
Monday 12 June, 1.30-2.30pm Charter Centre, 36 London Road, Bexhill.

For more information, or to donate, visit the DSES website.

Posted 16:57 Tuesday, May 9, 2017 In: Health Matters


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