Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has won a National Dementia Friendly Award in the Dementia Friendly Organisation of the Year - Small and Medium category.

The winners were announced at the prestigious awards ceremony that took place in London yesterday (Wednesday 29 November), where Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Angela Rippon CBE hosted the ceremony.

This is the second year that the BSO was shortlisted as one of three finalists of ‘Dementia Friendly Organisation of the Year - Small and Medium’. This category recognises businesses and organisations including leisure, tourism, the arts, emergency services, health and social care and celebrates large-scale efforts to be more dementia friendly.

A fundamental part of the Orchestra’s mission is to work beyond the concert hall and BSO Participate offers people across the South and South West the opportunity to engage with and experience music through five specially tailored and distinct strands of activity. BSO’s Boost is Participates’ strand of work which focusses on health and wellbeing through music. The Orchestra has delivered pioneering projects which have made a real difference to people living with dementia, and their carers in range of different settings.

Dougie Scarfe Chief Executive of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra said: “We could not be more proud and honoured to win Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Organisation of the year. The award is an outstanding tribute to the superb work of the BSO team in using music to empower the lives of those living with dementia and their careers and families. It’s really important for us to engage with all members of the community and if you are no longer able to attend our concerts or the symphony hall then it is important to us that your relationship with BSO does not end. For us the power of music is all encompassing even if you have lost the ability to communicate in some way, music is an absolute combined communication force.”

Over the last 12 months the BSO has embedded working with people living with dementia at the heart of their practice. They have delivered 92 separate sessions to 3,243 people engaged aged from 5 months to 100 years old. This work has manifested itself in many ways from people living in the community to those in residential and hospital care. One of these projects is Music for a While, the BSO’s pioneering music engagement that delivers workshops and performances to people living with dementia in acute hospital settings.

The Cake Concerts are another project run by Boost in order to improve the lives of those living with dementia. Working closely with Alzheimer’s Society, in particular through its Dementia Friends initiative, Boost has designed the Cake Concerts. A small number of BSO musicians perform a classical music concert for those living with dementia and their friends, family and carers. The Cake Concerts allow those living with dementia the opportunity to enjoy a classical music concert with a slice of cake in a relaxed and accessible setting.

Thanks to projects such as these, the Orchestra can continue to reach more people in the community and use music to change and support people’s lives.

The Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly awards 2017 have been sponsored by British Gas. The awards unite communities and individuals across England and Wales to recognise, celebrate and promote the inspirational achievements of those making a real difference to people living with dementia.

Derek Dodd, Operations Manager for Alzheimer’s Society in Dorset and Somerset said: “It is amazing that Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has won the Dementia Friendly Organisation of the Year - Small and Medium award and it is a testament to their tremendous dementia friendly work. The level of nominations received this year was truly phenomenal and there were some exceptional stories heard at the awards ceremony. All the finalists and winners at the Dementia Friendly Awards have demonstrated how we can unite against dementia and support those affected by the condition.”

Details of the awards, including a full list of winners for the different categories, can be found online at


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