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Correspondance with... Dancing for Wellbeing

Correspondance with... Dancing for Wellbeing

This month we'd like to thank Dorothy who shared her story with us about how she got involved in volunteering for Dancing for Well-Being

“It was whilst volunteering with a dementia group that I first met Jackie Terry and discovered the wonderful world of Dancing for Well-Being. 

I heard about the link music has for people with memory loss and dementia many years ago and I am very interested in using music to bring people back into the moment, to enable them to join in and even ‘remember’ albeit for a short while. The day I met Jackie she had come along to run a session at a memory café; the group was made up of people with dementia and Parkinson’s disease, their carers and support workers. Jackie has a very gentle way of working, of being able to read a group and find out their capabilities and tailor her sessions to suit.  The enjoyment people were getting from taking part in this session was obvious very early on, seeing those who didn’t normally smile, smile.  Seeing the pleasure of couples, where one was the main carer, being able to share something and laugh together brought a lump to my throat.

A couple of months later at another session Jackie mentioned she was starting a new Dancing for Well-Being group which was near where I live. She was looking for volunteers to help out, initially for 6 months, and would I be interested. Would I...without hesitation I said yes and 18 months later I can’t sing the praises of what Dancing for Well-Being does for people loud enough.

The Bilton Group I volunteer at has grown and is now benefitting people with a variety of health problems, such as arthritis, heart conditions, breathing problems, Parkinson’s, dementia and depression. Not only are people with limited mobility able to exercise they sing along to the music too; there is much laughter; there is much camaraderie; there is a feeling of belonging to a group of like-minded people. Many hands have been reached out in friendship and there is a lot of support from the members to each other and to us who help run it. 

Using a modern idiom ‘Dancing for Well-Being’ does what it says on the box: we dance to help keep our bodies mobile and the music also exercises our vocal chords and brain. The well-being factor is not only beneficial for our physical health but for our mental health too.  We see people who come in sometimes downtrodden with pain and stress and they leave the session smiling, one of our members told me she wished she could bottle the feeling to last all week.

What more could a volunteer ask for than to be part of such a wonderful group. This volunteer smiles all the way home too.”

Dancing for Well-Being are currently seeking volunteers to help out at sessions in central Harrogate, Bilton, Hampsthwaite and Knaresborough.