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Manchester Camerata weekly cafe offering music therapy for people with dementia and their families at Gorton Monastery
Manchester Camerata weekly cafe offering music therapy for people with dementia and their families at Gorton Monastery

Cafe provides pioneering therapy and support for people with dementia

Home » To do & see » Cafe provides pioneering therapy and support for people with dementia

Manchester Camerata is relaunching its dementia Music Café at Gorton Monastery.
The weekly sessions combine music therapy with a cup of tea and friendly chat, as a means of providing support to those living with dementia, their families and carers.

Funded by McLay Dementia Trust, the activities are led by specially-trained, professional Camerata musicians and music therapists and involve participants spontaneously creating new songs and tunes through improvised rhythms and songs.

MC's Music Cafe at the Monastery in Gorton (c) Duncan Elliott
Manchester Camerata’s Music Cafe at the Monastery in Gorton (c) Duncan Elliott

Partners and families of those living with dementia are shown by music therapists and Camerata musicians how music can help to reconnect them to their loved ones, and how valuable music is when used as a common language when speech is sometimes no longer available.

Lizzie Hoskin, Head of Community at Manchester Camerata, says: “Our musicians and Community team are really looking forward to welcoming past and new friends to The Monastery, sharing a cup of tea and making music again in the amazing Great Nave – and even have a bit of a dance!”

When the café originally ran, pre-pandemic, it was so successful the orchestra owned a sister café in Wigan at the Museum of Wigan Life. The two projects are linked to the orchestra’s award-winning dementia-music programme, Music in Mind.


Music in Mind launched over a decade ago in partnership with the University of Manchester and Professor John Keady, with the aim to create ways in which music can be used as a tool to improve the physical and mental health of those living with dementia. Since then, this music-therapy-based work for people with dementia has been rolled out to care homes across Greater Manchester and an online version was created during lockdown to offer training and skills for staff who could then learn to run their own music sessions for care home residents.

The community project is part of Manchester Camerata’s commitment to creating positive change through music and redefining the work an orchestra can do. And its work is being recogised both nationally and internationally, with musicians and therapists from the Music in Mind programme being invited to teach their skills to music and health care professionals across the globe.

Manchester Camerata’s Music Café runs weekly at the Monastery in Gorton on Wednesdays between 10am – 12pm (midday), starting on 18th May. Wigan’s Soul Time Music Cafe runs fortnightly on Mondays until August at the Museum of Wigan Life

To find out more about taking part or to book a place email: info@manchestercamerata.com

Written by
Carmel Thomason
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Written by Carmel Thomason