Jacqui Quirk, resource manager at Sedgemoor Dementia Hub Picture by Gareth Jones

BLOG: How Eurovision is bringing memories alive 

Part of Liverpool’s commitment in hosting the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine is to ensure that everyone could get involved. And that’s exactly what’s happened.

The EuroStreet community programme includes the ‘Songs for Europe’ project that is working with older people living in care homes. Here, Jacqui Quirk, resource manager at Liverpool City Council’s Sedgemoor Dementia Hub, explains the importance of giving everyone the opportunity to feel the magic of Eurovision…

At Sedgemoor Hub we support people who are living with dementia, providing physical, cognitive and emotional support. Music is massively important to most people, and for those living with dementia it is a great way to help with communication, enabling people to express themselves, by bringing back memories and feelings of wellbeing.

It was wonderful to welcome Nwoko Arts with ‘Songs for Europe’ as well as A Handbag of Harmonies Choir and National Museums Liverpool’s House of Memories bus to Sedgemoor so that the glitter and glam of Eurovision could come to us!

We had an amazing morning with performances, activities and sing-alongs. We shared laughter, stories and dancing, bringing so many wonderful memories to the forefront.

‘Songs for Europe’ has been created with care home residents, particularly those living with dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and their loved ones, including our service users here at Sedgemoor.

The piece includes recordings of service users’ voices, sharing their thoughts about the themes of Eurovision, and their memories of the fashions, hairstyles and music of the 1950s-80s. One of our service users Mary heard her voice from those sessions captured in the actual performance. What a thrill! Everybody engaged with the interactive performance, waving their Eurovision flags and singing along with gusto!

Meanwhile out in the garden, the sun shone on us whilst A Handbag of Harmonies belted out a medley of Eurovision songs. As soon as the singing started, people’s faces lit up and vocal cords engaged. The artists felt overwhelmed by the reaction and felt a real buzz watching people’s happiness.

Finally, we enjoyed the hilarious Eurovision House of Memories on the Road experience, dressing up and watching previous Eurovision performances. Staff said they loved the session and they have the best job in the world!

Throughout the morning, ‘Songs for Europe’ created an atmosphere of nostalgia, and helped bring back memories of past Eurovisions across the decades which is so valuable for people living with dementia.

Bringing Eurovision to everyone is so important. Not everyone in our city is able to travel into the city centre and see everything that is happening, so to have organisations such as Nwoko Arts and A Handbag of Harmonies taking all the fun and laughter into the communities is very, very special.

Songs for Europe will now tour 20 care homes in Liverpool City Region in the run up to Eurovision. I know that all the residents will enjoy and appreciate the performance as much as we did at Sedgemoor.

Liverpool Waterfront