THE co-founder of Mid and East Antrim Borough’s Dementia Friendly Choir, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, says she is ‘lost for words’ after the group picked up a prestigious award from the Alzheimer’s Society.
The ‘This is Me Dementia Friendly Choir’ was named Northern Ireland Dementia Friendly Choir of the Year at the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Awards 2019, which celebrate people, organisations or communities who make a real change to the lives of people with dementia.
As an extra special honour, the local singers were also invited by the Alzheimer’s Society to perform for the guests at the awards ceremony which took place in the Europa Hotel Belfast.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Dementia Friendly Champion, Gerardine Mulvenna, said: “It was so exciting for the choir to go to the Europa Hotel and sing for such a large audience. It was simply brilliant and such a privilege! The response we received was unbelievable; I had so many people who came up to me afterwards to say how amazing the choir were. It was such an emotional occasion with lots of tears.
“The choir are absolutely fantastic and even to be nominated was such an honour. Everyone has been on such a high since we won the award. We are so amazed and humbled because there is such a high standard of competition so we feel very privileged.
“The Music Yard in Larne, under the direction and incredible talent of Thomas and Angela Hamilton, where the choir meets every Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm, do such lovely work. We have been up and running since autumn of last year and the choir is open to everyone.
“Our members are made up of all age groups, including people up to their eighties. There are people who have been bereaved, people with dementia and their carers, as well as people who feel isolated, so we really would like to issue a warm welcome to anyone who feels like they would like to come and see for themselves what we do.
“Come along for one week and find out if you fancy joining in with us. We are very much a choir, but the icing on the cake is that the members have formed beautiful friendships. Of course we couldn’t have done what we do without the funding we received from Council and from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. We are incredibly grateful for that support.”
The This is Me Dementia Friendly Choir meets every Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm in the Music Yard, Larne. Refreshments are also served. New members will be made very welcome. More information can be found on The Music Yard’s Facebook page.