Dementia Friendly Haddington sings!


Dementia Friendly Haddington met on Wednesday, many thanks to Andrena from Market Court for hosting us.

Everyone was full of ideas, and it was great to have folk from local sheltered housing and care homes there as they know well what their residents like to do and will help us make sure that older people in Haddington are in control.

Lots of ideas from the need to get better at sharing information about what’s on, to how we support people who are socially isolated. There are lots of activities and services like free crime prevention and fire checks available, but how do we let people know?

Between us we have lots of local networks and we agreed to use these to help us make things happen and build stronger connections with the local community. These links take time to develop and build up, but they are the best way to involve people.

There were various things we want to do:

Intergenerational Choir

  •  Lots of support for setting up a choir with a view to an event at some point in the future. We didn’t want to set a timetable but start the ball rolling.
  • We agreed to spread the word through our professional and personal contacts and networks to find people and organisations interested in this – e.g. Day Centre, Rotary, community council, lamp house trust, local musicians.
  • We thought it would be good to start off the conversation in the John Gray Centre where Rena sings. But we can get people singing in a range of settings.
  • We can hold a community event about setting the choir up if there’s wider support. There’s lots of music in Haddington we can build on.
    The choir would be a great way to get information out to everyone about the value of music and singing for people with dementia and how it supports better relationships

Community history

The John Grey Centre  is keen to record conversations and stories people have and Helen is happy to go round places across East Lothian to collect them. Helen will contact people about this.


We liked the idea of more people getting the opportunity to learn new skills and make things, possibly for presents or fundraising. Residents already do a lot of this. Eg twiddle muffs, knitting, Christmas piggy banks, mugs and mats, DF Haddington T shirts – there are lots of options. We could run a craft fair and involve younger people to help. Telford college might come in and help and do pamper sessions.


We liked the idea of older people raising funds to support others, e.g. younger people or overseas. Various people do this already. We should highlight the ways that older people contribute a lot of support to younger people and that things are much more reciprocal than people think!


The John Gray Centre is having a bake off in June 20th for DF. I think we could all smell the baking! We could do a granny’s recipe book and involve residents and day centre members/residents in it and judging the bake off too.

– Rhona from Knox Academy will be talking to the pupils about how the school can get involved, she’s keen to organise an event before she goes to university in the autumn
– We could also do something as part of the Luminate Festival in October. People would like a dance not just to sit and listen. Musical encore are very good and went down well last year. We’d need a different venue to have room for dancing.
= Films – we think the Trinity Centre does films. John Gray Centre has a film club and can show things but would beed a volunteer to make it run. Anyone interested?

Poetry – Nessie read her beautiful poems and her program is on TV 17/8 at 7pm

– Everyone to ask residents/Members/friends what causes older people in Haddington would like to support. It doesn’t have to be one cause. Eg some already support the special needs play scheme.

– Everyone to spread the word about the choir and find some volunteers who will help us make it happen. Get the buzz going!

– The next Good Memories Cafe on 12 June would be a good place for people interested in the choir to go along. This is not just about people with dementia but including people with dementia along with everyone else.

– Mandatory that we all support the Bake Off – tough I know!

– We need to fix a date to meet when we’ve got some interest – maybe a community event? Maybe August when the school is back too?

– Everyone to follow up their contacts and networks

– Shall we fix another meeting in early July? Should we make a regular date? Think about setting a regular date to meet up.

– Everyone to send Sue details of any events coming up

– Please fill in the DFEL survey which asks what help you need to make things happen in your community, (see Dementia Friendly East Lothian Survey –

Next meeting 7 July lunchtime at Market Court Haddington. Watch out for exact timings!




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