Thursday 25th April 2019
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11/04/2019 - Airport support sounds amazing

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Thursday morning is music morning for many whose memory has been impaired through dementia or perhaps a stroke.

​For an hour and half people can bang the drums in an exuberant jam session, reach the high notes of much loved musicals or dance to the hits of the past.
 

One of the songs at the top of the agenda is the thoroughly appropriate Big Spender from the Broadway hit Sweet Charity. Whether those blasting the familiar words realise it or not, the opportunity to spend a little time with each other relies significantly upon the support given by London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL).
 
Music24 is a local charity that receives money from LLAL and is therefore able to provide a safe, fun environment for those who struggle to remember the simplest of things.
 
The creativity of improvising music, the discipline of keeping in rhythm and the deep joy of belting out favourite classics means the precious time spent together is a lifesaver away from the clutches of isolation dementia can bring.
 
Rosemary attends with her husband of 52 years, David. Diagnosed with dementia four years ago, he is just one of many regulars. “It’s his highlight of the week. He feels uplifted after each visit,” says Rosemary, who clearly appreciates the break she has from caring for David at home on her own.
 
Others have similar comments. Jerry used to play drums, but since a stroke has struggled with speech and been tired and forgetful. He sums up the importance of Music 24 in one word - invaluable. Similarly Pat, who had to retire following a stroke, likened himself to a prisoner in his own house. With the encouragement of Music24 he glides across the floor, microphone in hand like a seasoned crooner at Vegas.
 
Teela Hughes, the CEO of Music24 is a local singer/songwriter who began busking on Luton’s streets. She accompanies many of the songs with a burning passion for music and obvious care for those who come along. “The money from LLAL makes all the difference to us. Music has the power to engage with anyone, whatever is going on in their mind. It can help to reconnect with meaning in a world that has become confusing and unforgiving. The funding helps support over 50 people in various settings giving them and their families hope and purpose.”
 
Each year, LLAL is able to plough money back into the town in order to help support some of the amazing work carried out by local groups, charity organisations and the council. Beneficiaries include Luton Shopmobility which provides a lifeline to those who need support getting around, Age Concern, Noah Enterprise which works with the homeless and a host of other bodies.
 
Any increase in the number of passengers using the airport gives not only a local economic boost, but has a positive social impact that money alone cannot quantify. That is why we are keen to continue the process, began last summer, of consulting on plans to increase the airport’s capacity.
 
“We have a unique opportunity as the owner of London Luton Airport to support growth of the local, sub-regional and national economies, and the council’s ongoing transformation of our town,” said Chief Operations Officer Robin Porter.
 
Airports have planes and planes make a noise. People do too. Through LLAL funding, organisations like Music24 are truly transforming the lives of ordinary people in Luton. And that is something worth singing about.
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