Guernsey's first Dementia Friendly Festival took place at the tranquil setting of The Folk and Costume Museum Courtyard in Saumarez Park last Saturday afternoon and what a joy it was!
"We are really pleased to be working with the National Trust of Guernsey who are making their Folk and Costume Museum available to us for the afternoon, and to Highfield House Care Home for their generous sponsorship of the costs, allowing us to make this a free event for those living with dementia, their families and carers. And an extra special thank you to the fabulous acts entertaining us' said Julie Bulpitt, coordinator and trustee of Dementia Friendly Guernsey.
Guy Mitchell, the organizer of the festival and trustee of Dementia Friendly Guernsey, first approached the National Trust about four years ago to discuss the idea of using the courtyard to host this event. Speaking of the event, he says 'People who live with dementia know the power of music, it's proven that parts of the brain associated with music and lyrics are less affected. This afternoon gives an opportunity for people to enjoy an accessible, low volume event in a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere'.
Outside of his work with Dementia Friendly Guernsey and Highfield Care Home, Guy is well known to the Trust as one of the band members of The Button Pushers who regularly perform at Trust events. Performing with The Button Pushers was clinical nurse Paul Corcoran who is also part of the Dementia Friendly group. He said the group had cut one or two of their more rowdy numbers for the afternoon's performance. 'Music is all about communication and well-being' he said. 'People who have not been able to communicate with loved ones for years because of dementia, have been known to suddenly sing along to a popular song they might not have heard for years'. Alongside The Button Pushers, other musical entertainment was provided by local musicians, JoJan, the Singing from the Heart Community Choir, Aindré Reece-Sherin and hugely popular GU10, a local sea-shanty choir.
For the Dementia Friendly Concert to finally take place after Covid interrupted the planning process, was a special moment for the Trust.
"The courtyard has its own special atmosphere. It is calm and peaceful with superb natural acoustics, being surrounded on three sides by heritage granite buildings. Guy and Dementia Friendly Guernsey have put together a wonderful event which clearly brought so much happiness to everyone who attended, the musicians included. We really look forward to hosting another event for Dementia Friendly Guernsey next year."