Manchester Project in the Spotlight Following Prestigious National Award

09 July 2016

Dementia-friendly church receives Community Project Award

Melody Memories, which operates from Trinity Community Church, received a Community Project Award for its vital work and prize money of £1,750.

Carol Bodey and Audrey Mayor from the project were presented with the award at the United Reformed Church General Assembly held in Southport on Saturday 9 July. The awards, sponsored by national church insurer Congregational, recognise the efforts of churches that establish and maintain social initiatives within their local community.

Melody Memories started four years ago as church members felt they could raise awareness of dementia in the local community and provide a stimulating environment for those living with dementia and support for their carers.

Trinity Community Church joined Dementia Action Alliance and began work within the neighbourhood and teamed up with local organisations to create a dementia-friendly church. Melody Memories is held one Monday afternoon per month. Other dementia related activities run throughout the month at the church including information evenings on Dementia to educate local residents, coffee and chat groups for younger people living with mild dementia and networking evenings to encourage local organisations to come together to create a dementia-friendly community.

Melody Memories volunteers appreciate residents living with dementia lose confidence in their own abilities, therefore activities include singing, craft making and gardening enabling social interaction and to create a fun relaxed environment. Carers attend the sessions knowing they can leave their relatives in a safe secure space so they can enjoy the afternoon off and talk through any of the their concerns with the project volunteers. The afternoon sessions of Melody Memories conclude with refreshments and an opportunity for all attendees to share their feelings and their best memories.

The impressive work of reducing social isolation and raising the awareness of Dementia was such that the Community Awards judging panel recognised the project as one of the winners in this year’s national awards. Carol Bodey and Audrey Mayor from the project were presented with the award at the United Reformed Church General Assembly and also received £1,750 prize money which will help the centre to continue its vital work amongst local residents.

Revd Bob Day from the project commented, said: “We’re thrilled to have been selected as one of the winners this year and are delighted that our work with those living with dementia around Moss Side has been recognised on a national level.

“We will use the prize money to continue our work of raising awareness of dementia, reducing social isolation within the locality, developing further local partnerships and continuing our work with Together Dementia Support.”

Congregational Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: “We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives such as Melody Memories that really make a difference to the lives of local people. I feel the success of this project lies in the fact that it unites church members, local volunteers and dementia support workers”.

David Grosch Miller, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), and one of the judges added: “The standard of entries at this year’s Community Project Awards was very high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area – showing God at work in small details and large visionary projects. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, life-giving projects have grown out of local URC congregations and we’re proud to provide Melody Memories with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue their important community work.”

To view a short film on the project, please visit: https://youtu.be/-m_K2gCM2xo