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Weekly singalong in Morecambe for older people gets £43,000 boost

Peter Schofield and Barry Dickinson from the West Lancashire Freemasons visit The Seagull Cafe singalong in Morecambe

A singing group for older people in the Morecambe area has received a £43,000 boost.

The Seagull Cafe at More Music, which helps more than 500 socially isolated people through a weekly singalong, as well as respiratory exercises and dancing, has been awarded money by the West Lancashire Freemasons.

The Seagull Cafe aims to lift spirits and mood, and the songs themselves unlock wonderful memories, with tea and cakes offering an opportunity to chat, connect and meet new friends.

Led by musicians from More Music‘s creative team, the sessions are social and creative and include live music, performance, singing, breathing exercises and learning new songs together.

The playlist is full of old-time tunes by artists such as John Denver and Dean Martin as well as hits from Abba and Elvis.

Staff from a local GP's surgery attend the sessions to check in with their patients and do mini health MOTs. 

There is no cost to attend the café singing sessions and the charity arranges free transport for those who need it.

“We’re very grateful to the Lancashire Freemasons for their generous grant," said Anna Daly from More Music.

"Research shows that singing improves our heart rate, blood pressure, mood and depression and that singing with others in a shared creative context can cultivate feelings of happiness and social equality. Seagull Café has become a regular and important feature in the lives of many older people in our community, inspiring new friendships and boosting mental health.”

Mark Matthews, leader of West Lancashire Freemasons, said: “I’m really pleased we’ve been able to help More Music with their wonderful singing project. Loneliness has been proven to have a serious effect on health, with effects similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Without the Seagull Café many of the attendees can go for weeks or even months without having a meaningful conversation with another human being.”

Peter Schofield, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, and Barry Dickinson, Provincial Communications Officer, from the West Lancashire Freemasons visited the Seagull Cafe, at More Music's base on Devonshire Road in Morecambe, to meet the staff and chat to the participants.

The entertainment on the day was provided by musicians Bill Roberts and Sian Philips, who led the community singing and activities. 

The grant from West Lancashire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, funded by Freemasons, their families, and friends, from across England and Wales. The funding will make a significant difference in the West End of Morecambe, an area which faces considerable challenges with poverty and health.

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