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Anniversary Year for Playlist for Life

                                                                                                                  Wednesday June 7 2023


Jackie Macadam reflects on a milestone anniversary for a dementia charity supported by many churches.


TEN years ago, in June 2013, the charity Playlist for Life was created.

This year has been designated as a Year of Celebration to mark their 10 years of helping those living with dementia and those who care for them.

Their mission, to help combat dementia by using music to bring memories back and ease symptoms of the condition, has been more successful than they could have imagined.

The charity provides free resources and training to all kinds of community groups who support people affected by dementia. The charity was founded by broadcaster and journalist Sally Magnusson, who saw the impact music had on her mother’s dementia, Playlist for Life has been taken to heart by many Church Of Scotland congregations.

Pam Ribbeck, Communities Officer for the charity explained how they had launched their ‘Help Point’ network in 2017.

“A Help Point is somewhere that people affected by dementia can access free information, resources and in some cases support about creating and using a personalised playlist. Any organisation that can provide free advice, support or activity to people affected by dementia are invited to apply, from grassroots community groups to libraries, dementia cafes, sports clubs, community police stations and GP Surgeries. 

“Help Points can be a physical location where people can pick up leaflets and materials about making a personalised playlist, for instance an area of a church or community centre. Many groups are also incorporating our resources into regular activities, helping people find songs for their personalised playlists.

“No matter how you reach your community, there are multiple ways for you to set up your Help Point and share the power of personal music.

“In 2017 we set up the Help Point network in partnership with existing community organisations. Our first official Help Point was St Andrew’s Church in Carluke, led by the Rev Helen Jamieson who, along with members of St Andrews Church and a team of amazing volunteers, have been running a very successful and ever-growing Dementia Hub for 11 years.”

We now have over 2,000 community-based Help Point partners across the UK in organisations as diverse as libraries, community police teams, carer organisations and with national partners like Alzheimer Scotland.

“We work with around 25 churches across Scotland and our volunteer speakers have spoken at countless Church of Scotland Guilds to raise awareness about dementia and the very positive effects music can have on it.

“Personal music playlists can have a huge impact on people living with dementia. A playlist can help to manage and reduce symptoms like anxiety, improve wellbeing.”

For more information or help to start your own help point, contact


This article first appeared in the June 2023 issue of Life and Work. Subscribe in digital or print or buy a one-off copy here


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