Students from University of The West of Scotland (UWS) have created a playlist of songs in partnership with people living with dementia following workshop sessions held with service users at Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Resource Centre in Kilmarnock.

The Grace Notes project sees students from Adult and Mental Health Nursing and Songwriting and Commercial Music courses working collaboratively with people living with dementia and their carers. With the aim of encouraging communication through sound and song, the result was six new songs inspired by the real-life experiences shared during these workshops.

Helped ably by Jim Prime, a lecturer at UWS and Deacon Blue’s keyboard player, the playlist of songs will be available to download from during Dementia Awareness Week, Monday 30 May – Sunday 5 June.

Jim, who has been at UWS for 15 years, said: “The Grace Note Project and the songs created within it are an excellent example of how the creative process can have a profound and positive effect on individuals and the wider society. It captures perfectly what being a student at UWS is all about.”

Debbie Tolson, Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice at UWS, added: “The benefits of inter-professional learning within nurse education speak for themselves. Grace Notes is another demonstration of the impact of our partnership with Alzheimer Scotland and our determination to make a positive contribution to the way people with dementia are viewed by society.

“By bringing together generations, we’re aiming to raise awareness of dementia and help younger people develop the skills and understanding of the different and helpful contributions that they can make.”

Jim Baird, Volunteer Co-ordinator at Alzheimer Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project. Musical reminiscence is a very powerful stimulus to assist those with dementia to live well and we have many successful groups locally and nationally.

“The Grace Notes project was a lovely catalyst to really delve into people’s personal musical influences and gain an insight into what really made them tap their feet.

“The students from UWS were attentive and intuitive, creating a new audience for the participants that led to real engagement, smiles and lots of good music. We seek out the potential for inter-generational collaboration wherever we can and very much look forward to running Grace Notes for others in our area – the participants and their families are all excited to hear their songs launched during Dementia Awareness Week.”

This Dementia Awareness Week Alzheimer Scotland is urging the nation to challenge dementia by finding out more about the illness and by helping to raise vital funds to support dementia support services across Scotland.

Dementia is the biggest health and social care challenge faced by society today. There are over 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland and around 3,200 are under the age of 65. By the year 2020 there will be more than 1 million people living with dementia in the UK. Alzheimer Scotland is passionate that nobody should face dementia alone.

If you have any questions about dementia and of the services available in your area call Alzheimer Scotland’s 24 Helpline on 0808 808 3000 or visit the website at



University of the West of Scotland