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A Decade Of Harnessing Meaningful Music For Dementia


As the ScottishPower Foundation celebrates 10 years of providing invaluable support, so too does one of the charities we proudly support. Playlist for Life, is also marking its tenth anniversary. In this blog post, Rebecca Kennedy, Head of Communities at Playlist for Life, discusses the importance of personalised music in improving the quality of life for those living with dementia and how funding makes their work possible.

 Playlist for Life Blog


Playlist for Life was founded in 2013 with a small team and a simple mission: to help people living with dementia through the power of meaningful music.

10 years on, we’ve helped thousands of families, carers and health and social care professionals create and benefit from personalised playlists and we hosted a whole summer of celebrations!

With thanks to the support of the ScottishPower Foundation, this year we’ve been expanding our Help Point network with a focus on under-reached and underserved communities, where people living with dementia may experience higher levels of isolation and less access to support.

Our Help Points are somewhere that people affected by dementia can access free information, resources and in some cases support about creating and using a personalised playlist. With resources like these we’re helping families connect and improve the quality of their lives through the power of personally meaningful music. 

One of the key commitments of the ScottishPower Foundation is funding charities that help with the advancement of citizenship and community development.  Its funding helped bring together our existing Help Points to celebrate our 10 years and the incredible work they do in their communities.

Changing the tune: 10 Years of Playlist for Life

We kicked things off in June with two conferences, to celebrate a successful decade of harnessing the joy music can bring. These events were made possible through funding from the ScottishPower Foundation.

Our in-person event at Impact Arts in Glasgow was attended by around 100 guests including people with lived experience of dementia, unpaid carers, community Help Point staff and volunteers, healthcare professionals and Playlist for Life staff and trustees. It was filled with emotion, inspiration and, of course, birthday cake!

We were also delighted to be joined by Melanie Hill, Executive Officer and Trustee of the ScottishPower Foundation.

Melanie said:The event was incredibly powerful. Bringing together so many groups supporting those with dementia to have a better quality of life through music highlighted the importance of partnerships.

“We’re proud that our funding has supported the expansion of Playlist for Life’s crucial Help Point network which is empowering communities by giving them the tools to create meaningful playlists.”

The voices of people with lived experience and community leaders were central to the programme.

Playlist ambassadors Carol and Malcolm, who came to us through their Help Point at St Andrews Church in Carluke, gave a personal and touching account of their journey of Carol’s diagnosis and how her playlist, the songs of which are expertly filed in a bright pink ring binder and played through an Alexa speaker, has helped her and husband Malcolm immensely.

Carol Topper, who lives with dementia, said: “Playlist for Life changed my life. I absolutely love being an ambassador for the charity.”

Our breakout and networking sessions celebrated the breadth of organisations we’re partnered with to undertake awareness-raising work via our training sessions and Help Points, and the creative ways those we’ve trained are independently using personal music for dementia and our resources.

Our Lived Experience session was led by Willy Gilder who credits listening to The Rolling Stones with reigniting his love of drawing and painting, a lifelong hobby he thought he had lost his passion for in the lead-up to his diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s.

We want people to know about the power of playlists now, not just at the point of diagnosis including on this National Playlist Day, where you can get involved here:

 Playlist for Life Blog