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Doncaster Live at Home members enjoying a singing session

Do you play piano? Could you spare an hour a month?

Doncaster Live at Home (LAH), which provides practical and social support to older people living in their own homes, is searching for a pianist for singsong events.

Members have just enjoyed a one-off singsong accompanied by music therapist Laura Festa – and would like to make it a regular event.

“We had a wonderful time with Laura on the piano – the members were singing heartily and I know it did them the world of good,” said Doncaster LAH Manager Chermayne Bennett.

“We would really love it if someone else could play for us in the future. Just once a month would be wonderful.”

Doncaster LAH is part of MHA, the national charity providing accommodation, care and support to over 17,000 older people nationwide. Laura also works for MHA, providing interactive music therapy sessions in care homes for people with dementia.

LAH provides services including befriending, lunch and activity clubs, assisted shopping trips and outings.

Member Harry Clark, 96, said: “I have no family nearby and if not for Live at Home, the only people who would come to see me would be my carers. I have neighbours but I don’t see them. People are busy, they have jobs. I’m not moaning, it’s just how it is.

“But my befriender comes on Mondays for a couple of hours and we talk and have a laugh. And there are the shopping trips, and the lunch club. It’s very good for people in my situation who live on their own.

“I really hope we can find a pianist. I love music and singing, I was in male voice choirs for 40 or 50 years.”

Fellow member Shirley Kingsbury added, “I lost my husband two years ago after 57 years together, and started coming to Live at Home for about a year and a half.

“If I have to go to hospital or somewhere, which is a bit scary if you’re on your own, a volunteer will come and take me.

“If I didn’t have LAH, I wouldn’t go out. I wouldn’t have anybody to go out with. I would be very lonely. There’s no end of people who are on their own. It’s awful. That’s why LAH is important.”

Volunteering opportunities are always available at LAH, and it is an asset for those seeking to improve their job prospects.

Chermayne added, “We’re also looking for support from local businesses and individuals – unfortunately a grant programme we had has recently come to an end and we will need help if we’re going to continue providing this service for older people in Doncaster.

“We’re very glad to be promoting independence and wellbeing and we think this is beneficial to our members’ physical and mental health. We would love to partner up with any businesses or individuals who can help us, whether as a one-off or a more long-term relationship.

“But in the meantime, we are still looking for a pianist!”

To find out more about joining, supporting or volunteering with Doncaster Live at Home, call 01302 769898 or email Doncaster.LiveatHome@mha.org.uk

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