Sing for Your Life sessions ousted from Stowford Lodge

Amid denials Sidmouth’s Stowford Lodge will soon close, one group finds new premises for its music and song sessions for those with Altzheimer’s.

AMID denials that Sidmouth’s Stowford Lodge is to close in the near future, one group has had to find new premises to hold its music and song sessions for those with Altzheimer’s.

Sing for Your Life SW Ltd., a registered charity, has been running singing sessions for those with memory problems at the Devon NHS Partnership Trust owned centre.

Now it has moved to Twyford House, Coburg Road, where it will run monthly free sessions for older people and carers, beginning on Monday, March 28, from 2-3pm.

Last week the charity’s chairman Peter Clarke, who lives in West Hill, says he was told by a “clinical team leader” that services at Stowford Lodge were about to close “and each client would be guided to alternative day care.”

He says he understands clients were being informed of the “imminent closure”.

However, a spokesman for the Trust told the Sidmouth Herald: “We have made it clear to our staff and others that we do not believe there is a viable long term future for the building itself, but that we are very much committed to the continued provision of high quality local community services for older people with mental health needs in and around Sidmouth.

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“However, there are certainly no firm plans in place yet to relocate the team based at Stowford Lodge or to sell the building before alternative day facilities are available.”

Sing for Your Life’s Twyford House sessions every last Monday of each month, should prove popular. A taster session last month at Twyford House attracted 25 people and was, says Mr Clarke “very successful.”

Pat Parkinson, a retired teacher from Sidmouth, will be running exercises, music and games to help those attending. Volunteer helpers will attend to give out song sheets and small musical instruments as well as help with singing.

Mr Clarke said of those with Altzheimer’s: “Because they have short term memory loss they can’t have conversation but they can remember songs they sang 50 years ago.”

He said the sessions provided social intercourse as well as relief for carers, who stay and join in.

Sing for Your Life emerged after research by the Sidney De Hann Research Centre for Arts and Health found that music and song helped those with Altzheimer’s to interact with others.