Grants for ‘Dementia Choirs’ to provide urgent funding to groups that transform lives through music


At 9am on 13th February 2023, grants of £1,000 will be made available to 100 community choirs and singing groups across the UK, to help bring the life-changing power of music to people living with dementia and their carers.

The new fund, established by The National Academy for Social Prescribing [NASP] and The Utley Foundation, is a response to last year’s Power of Music report, which called for investment in music programmes for health and wellbeing, among other recommendations. [1]

It is also inspired by the ‘Our Dementia Choir’ documentary, which features the creation and development of a choir in Nottingham. Presented by Vicky McClure – whose grandmother had dementia – the programme made an appeal for more funding to be made available for other dementia choirs and singing groups, as it demonstrated the transformational difference singing makes in its participants’ lives.

Through the £100,000 fund, community choirs and singing groups will be able to apply for small grants to cover the travel, room hire, refreshment or administration costs that can often get in the way of making choirs and singing groups a viable option for those with dementia.

To help get money to people fast, the fund will work on a first come first served basis (weighted to ensure grants go to people across the country and to reflect diversity). Opening for applications on 13th February for 48 hours, the first round of grants will be awarded at the beginning of March. More information for applicants on the registration process will be available here from 26th January.

This fund is a precursor to a wider £5 million Power of Music fund, which will offer much larger grants to projects wanting to harness the power of music to improve their community’s health and wellbeing. The fund is due to be launched by NASP in partnership with The Utley Foundation and other funders later in the year.




According to the Power of Music report, published last year, an estimated 209,600 people [2] will develop dementia this year. This figure, combined with those already living with dementia, will cost the UK £34.7 billion each year. The health and social care costs of dementia are more than those of cancer and chronic heart disease combined [3].

Music therapy is a proven solution to this increasing problem, with research showing that it is the best type of therapy for reducing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia [4]. Not only does it improve quality of life, it can also reduce agitation and the need for medication in 67% of people with dementia [5].

Vicky McClure said: “Week after week, I see the power of music in action with Our Dementia Choir members, their family members and carers. It’s fantastic to see this funding be made available for choirs and singing groups across the UK and I really hope it helps them to keep doing what they do so brilliantly to support those living with dementia, and importantly, those who care for them.”

Sunita Pandya, interim CEO of the National Academy for Social Prescribing, said: “Our Dementia Choir is probably one of the best-known examples of what we call ‘social prescribing’ – that is, connecting people to activities, groups and services that can improve their health and wellbeing. We know that choirs and community singing groups aren’t just a way for people to pass the time, but can make a lifechanging difference to people’s mental and physical health.

“That is why we have partnered with The Utley Foundation, to award small grants to local dementia choirs who may be struggling with basic costs like room hire and travel after a challenging winter.

“Over the coming months, we plan to drive forward the recommendations of the Power of Music report, and work with partners to fund more music projects having an impact across the country.”




Grace Meadows, Campaign Director for the Utley Foundation’s Music for Dementia campaign said: “When we published the Power of Music report in April 2022, we wanted to see the practical, actionable recommendations being brought to life in meaningful ways to position music as a vital public health tool.

“Music has an incredible power to improve and enrich people’s lives. The launch of this fund is an exciting direct response to those recommendations and will be a welcome support for the many singing groups and choirs across the country that provide a vital lifeline to people living with dementia and their carers.”

NASP and The Utley Foundation are working with UK Music, Universal Music and other partners to build on the findings of the Power of Music report.


Notes to editors

The Power of Music Fund: Dementia Choirs and Singing Groups will launch on 13th February. Full information about the application process will be available here from Thursday 26th January.

[1] UK Music and Music for Dementia: The Power of Music report, 2022: Power-of-Music-Report-Final-Pages.pdf (

[2] Alzheimer’s Society: Facts for the media about dementia | Alzheimer’s Society (

[3] Raphael Wittenberg, Bo Hu, Luis Barraza-Araiza, Amritpal Rehill. Projections of older people with dementia and costs of dementia care in the United Kingdom 2019-2040: 3. 3-6.

[4] Abraha I, Rimland, JM Trotta FM et al. Systematic review of systematic reviews of non-pharmacological interventions to treat behavioral disturbances in older patients with dementia. The SENATOR – OnTop series.

[5] All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts Health and Wellbeing, Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing 2017, Older Adulthood, Music 8.6.4, 133



Contact details


About the National Academy for Social Prescribing

We are an organisation dedicated to the advancement of social prescribing through promotion, collaboration and innovation. We work to create partnerships, across the arts, health, sports, leisure, and the natural environment, alongside other aspects of our lives, to promote health and wellbeing at a national and local level. We will champion social prescribing and the work of local communities in connecting people for wellbeing.

Our objectives are to

  • Make some noise – raising the profile of social prescribing
  • Find resources – develop innovative funding partnerships
  • Build relationships – broker and build relationships across all sectors
  • Improve the evidence – shape and share the evidence base
  • Spread what works – promote learning on social prescribing

About the Utley Foundation

The Utley Foundation is a private charitable trust established by Neil and Nicky Utley in 2014 to deliver change in areas of charitable interest to their family. The Utley Foundation established its cross-sector Music for Dementia campaign in 2018 as part of its ambition to ensure music is made an integral part of care for all those living with dementia.



About the Music for Dementia campaign

The Music for Dementia campaign is founded and funded by the Utley Foundation and is the cross-sector campaign to make music an integral part of dementia care. We already include more than 200 organisations from the NHS, care sector, third sector and music sector plus thousands of individual supporters, many with lived experience.