Are you in a choir or singing group that is a lifeline for someone living with dementia and their carers?
We are delighted to announce that we have partnered with The Utley Foundation to offer 100 grants of £1,000 each to eligible choirs and singing groups.
Applications are now closed for this fund
The new fund is a response to last year’s Power of Music report, which called for investment in music programmes for health and wellbeing, among other recommendations.
It is also inspired by the ‘Our Dementia Choir’ documentary, which features the creation and development of a choir in Nottingham. Presented by Vicky McClure, whose grandmother had dementia, the programme made an appeal for more funding to be made available for other dementia choirs and singing groups.
Through the £100,000 fund, community choirs and singing groups will be able to apply for small grants to cover the travel, room hire, refreshment or administration costs that can get in the way of making music groups a viable option for those with dementia.
To help get money to people fast, the fund will work on a first come first served basis, weighted to ensure grants go to people across the country and to reflect diversity. Opening for applications on 13th February for 48 hours, the first round of grants will be awarded at the beginning of March.
More information for applicants on the registration process is available here.
The Power of Music
This fund is a precursor to a wider £5 million Power of Music fund, which will offer larger grants to projects wanting to harness the power of music to improve their community’s health and wellbeing. The fund is due to be launched by NASP in partnership with The Utley Foundation and other funders later in the year.
According to the Power of Music report, published last year, an estimated 209,600 people  will develop dementia this year. This figure, combined with those already living with dementia, will cost the UK £34.7 billion each year. The health and social care costs of dementia are more than those of cancer and chronic heart disease combined .
Music therapy is a proven solution to this increasing problem, with research showing that it is the best type of therapy for reducing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia . Not only does it improve quality of life, it can also reduce agitation and the need for medication in 67% of people with dementia .
Week after week, I see the power of music in action with Our Dementia Choir members, their family members and carers. It’s fantastic to see this funding be made available for choirs and singing groups across the UK and I really hope it helps them to keep doing what they do so brilliantly to support those living with dementia, and importantly, those who care for them.
Our Dementia Choir is probably one of the best-known examples of what we call ‘social prescribing’ – that is, connecting people to activities, groups and services that can improve their health and wellbeing. We know that choirs and community singing groups aren’t just a way for people to pass the time, but can make a lifechanging difference to people’s mental and physical health.
That is why we have partnered with The Utley Foundation, to award small grants to local dementia choirs who may be struggling with basic costs like room hire and travel after a challenging winter.
Over the coming months, we plan to drive forward the recommendations of the Power of Music report, and work with partners to fund more music projects having an impact across the country.
When we published the Power of Music report in April 2022, we wanted to see the practical, actionable recommendations being brought to life in meaningful ways to position music as a vital public health tool.
Music has an incredible power to improve and enrich people’s lives. The launch of this fund is an exciting direct response to those recommendations and will be a welcome support for the many singing groups and choirs across the country that provide a vital lifeline to people living with dementia and their carers.
NASP and The Utley Foundation are working with UK Music, Universal Music and other partners to build on the findings of the Power of Music report.
 UK Music and Music for Dementia: The Power of Music report, 2022: Power-of-Music-Report-Final-Pages.pdf (ukmusic.org)
 Alzheimer’s Society: Facts for the media about dementia | Alzheimer's Society (alzheimers.org.uk)
 Raphael Wittenberg, Bo Hu, Luis Barraza-Araiza, Amritpal Rehill. Projections of older people with dementia and costs of dementia care in the United Kingdom 2019-2040: 3. 3-6.
 Abraha I, Rimland, JM Trotta FM et al. Systematic review of systematic reviews of non-pharmacological interventions to treat behavioral disturbances in older patients with dementia. The SENATOR – OnTop series.
 All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts Health and Wellbeing, Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing 2017, Older Adulthood, Music 8.6.4, 133