Row leads to charity singing group splitBy Julie Spencer
September 25, 2012
A row has shattered the harmony of a singing therapy group for Bracknell people with dementia.
Volunteers at the Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain group have resigned and set up rival music sessions in protest at what they claim is interference from the Reading office of the society.
But the Alzheimer’s Society said the eight volunteers left because they refused to comply with training and health and safety procedures.
Their refusal put the charity at risk of litigation if there was an accident at the weekly sing-songs, it stated.
Other volunteers have stepped in to run the group, which meets at Langley Hall at The Ring on Monday mornings.
Clare and Bill Heffill, who had run the group, said it was asking too much of them to undergo training.
Clare said: “They put pressure on the people in the kitchen to get the health and safety certificates.
“As volunteers we haven’t got the time to work as they want us to, it was not possible to work in the manner they wanted.
“Bill and I used to print out song sheets and they would pay for the ink and paper, but now that has to be done at Reading. They did not want us to run the singing group.”
Clare and Bill said their new group, Alzheimer’s Singing Klub (ASK), would start on Monday, October 1 at St Joseph’s RC Church Hall in Bracknell.
The group will meet between 12.15pm and 2.15pm every Monday – the same day as Singing for the Brain, which is now run by volunteers from Wokingham and Reading.
Lynn Chandler, Alzheimer’s Society support services manager for Berkshire, said: “At Alzheimer’s Society we need to ensure that the decisions we make are with the best interests of people with dementia and their carers.
“We deeply value the contribution all our volunteers make and recognise the difference they have made locally.
“I wish the volunteers, who have moved on to pastures new, success in their ventures and hope that together we can increase the choice and availability of services for people within the Bracknell area.
“Singing for the Brain is an incredibly popular service and can make a huge difference to people’s quality of life and our group continues to run on Mondays from 10.30am to midday at Langley Hall.
“There are 4,880 people with dementia in Berkshire East. Services in the area will continue to be run as normal and we will also look to continue to recruit for new volunteers to help us deliver high quality services.”