Established in 2006 by Dr Anthea Holland and Jane Crampton, Mindsong has grown from an initial one-off project for the Three Choirs Festival ad went on to achieve charitable status in 2012. The charity works with those suffering from mid- to late-stage dementia, who are being looked after in care homes or by close family members in their own homes. In addition to dementia in many cases also experience challenges in the form of verbal communication and social interaction, as well as co- ordination and hearing or visual impairment. The charity also treats individuals with other neurological disorders such as Parkinsons and Huntingdon’s disease as well as those suffering from brain injuries.
The charity has full-time staff and over 400 volunteers. They use music and song therapeutically to bring enjoyment and hope to those who find themselves detached through loss of thoughts and words. The therapy works by connecting with the part of the brain that is undamaged by disease or injury, which is often much more accessible via music than through spoken communication. For both patients and their carers, the therapy is profoundly beneficial in improving mood and happiness, with further benefits such as sleep quality and willingness to accept care.
The charity provides over 1,000 free sessions per year to a similar number of people living with dementia, as well as their relatives and carers. The team also runs its Meaningful Music singing groups at 50 care homes around the county of Gloucestershire. The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust were an early supporter of the charity, and since 2015 have given over £370,000.