Singing is just the tonic for residents at Cravenside in Barnoldswick

The Elderberries with Jennifer Purcell (top left), chairman of the Friends of Cravenside; Julie Cowgill (right), care manager, and (seated with guitar) Peter Wright, the Friends’ vice-chairman

The Elderberries with Jennifer Purcell (top left), chairman of the Friends of Cravenside; Julie Cowgill (right), care manager, and (seated with guitar) Peter Wright, the Friends’ vice-chairman

First published in News

Residents at a home for older people in Barnoldswick have formed their own choir – and they hope it will improve their health.

Named The Elderberries, the choir is made up of residents at Cravenside, some of whom have dementia.

It was set up with help from the Friends of Cravenside, with group vice-chairman Peter Wright accompanying the choir on his guitar.

Julie Cowgill, registered care manager at Cravenside, said: “We know that many residents love musical activities and had obviously enjoyed the visits from local school and church choirs during Christmas last year, so it was really only a short step from there to forming The Elderberries.

“There’s a lot of research about the health benefits of singing. These include physical benefits such as getting more oxygen into the bloodstream and exercising different muscle groups, even if the singer is sitting down.

“But there are also psychological benefits, as singing helps people to feel relaxed and can improve their sense of wellbeing. And for our residents, the regular choir practice also helps to provide a routine and means they have an enjoyable creative activity to look forward to every week.” Cravenside is run by Lancashire County Commercial Group, which is part of the Lancashire County Council.

Residents live together in small groups and being part of the choir helps them to socialise and make friends with people who live in other parts of the home.

Choir practices are held in the communal room and all residents are welcome to take part. In particular, people who have dementia are actively encouraged to join in.

Julie added: “We are hoping that some of our other county council-run homes will follow our lead and form choirs of their own.

“And, after opening the recent Cravenside Christmas Fair, The Elderberries may be ready to give a performance or two and show them how it’s done!”

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