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Home  >  News  >  Music Dementia Charity Receives £1.6m Lottery Funding


Music Dementia Charity Receives £1.6m Lottery Funding

Wednesday July 24 2019

The music and dementia charity Playlist for Life has been awarded £1.6m in National Lottery funding to expand its services across the UK.

Playlist for Life teaches families and care staff how to create a unique personal playlist of the soundtrack to a person’s life. Personal playlists allow others to understand and ‘see’ the whole person with dementia; to stop the feeling of helplessness and bring joy and connection. Personal playlists have the potential to revolutionise dementia care - homes trained by Playlist for Life consistently report a reduction in medication for residents with dementia, by up to 60 per cent.

The National Lottery award will be used to raise awareness of the power of playlists and delivers half the funding required to grow the existing grassroots network of Playlist for Life community Help Points to 1,500 across the UK.

Playlist for Life Help Points are hosted by existing organisations, such as churches, faith groups, libraries and carers’ centres, based anywhere in the UK.  Host organisations are given free training and resources to promote the power of music to help dementia and often provide a helping hand to anyone who gets stuck with technology or finding the right tunes.

The first Help Point was hosted at St Andrew’s Parish Church in Carluke, Lanarkshire. The minister there, the Rev Helen Jamieson, said: “Playlist for Life has changed my ministry. The training we received opened our eyes to the power of music to reach people with dementia. Personal music is now a regular part of the way our church supports people living with the condition and their families. We have incorporated playlists into church services, pastoral visits and even funerals.”

“Our church is fully committed to including and supporting people with dementia. Playlist for Life has enhanced and enriched all the things we already did. Once a month we now turn our memory café into a ‘Musical Tea’ where people with dementia can come with their family members to chat, laugh, dance, listen to music – and sample home-baking from our unique ‘LP-cake stands’.”

Any organisation that would like to be part of the UK-wide project can apply to become a Playlist for Life community Help Point on the Playlist for Life website.

To celebrate the grant, Playlist for Life will be promoting Musical Teas in communities across the UK in the run up to BBC Music Day on 26 September. Anyone who wants to host a Musical Tea – and learn how to make an LP-cake stand – can sign up for a free Musical Tea Pack at

Playlist For Life has also been advising the BBC on, a website which helps people test and find musical memories by browsing 30-second snippets of thousands of tracks arranged in specially curated playlists. The Playlist for Life Musical Tea pack includes resources to make use of Music Memories as a memory-finding tool and run a music quiz.

Playlist for Life was founded in 2013 by the writer and broadcaster, Sally Magnusson, after the death of her mother Mamie, who had the disease.

Sally Magnusson said: “I founded Playlist for Life to share with other families something we had to discover by accident when caring for my mother: personal music helps dementia. My vision was that if every person with dementia has a unique personal playlist and everyone who loves or cares for them knows how to use it, then we can improve the way we connect and care for people living with this illness.”

“This award from The National Lottery Community Fund brings that vision closer. We are grateful for their faith in us and excited about the work to come.”

Sally Magnusson to Talk On Dementia at Edinburgh Church

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Alison Robertson - Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

“Excellent news. A brilliant organisation.”

Brian - Saturday, July 27th, 2019

“Great story; great idea....I'm signing up for the pack. JB”

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