Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health
The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust has supported work by a number of agencies and academic institutions that aims to discover causes of and treatments for conditions that are often associated with ageing. It is also a strong supporter of the hospice movement, with a special focus on helping those that serve people in east Kent.
Research into causes and treatment of dementia has been a particular area of interest for Trustees, particularly through Age UK/Research into Ageing’s “The Healthy Mind” programme and Canterbury Christ Church University’s Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health. The Trust helped set up the Sidney De Haan Research Centre, which examines the role that participation in arts activities, particularly music and singing, may play in promoting wellbeing and good health. The centre was named in memory of Sidney De Haan, founder of Saga, who towards the end of his life was diagnosed with vascular dementia. Friends and family noticed that attending concerts and music events appeared to have a profoundly positive effect on Sidney’s well being.
In 2004 Professors Stephen Clift and Grenville Hancox of Canterbury Christ Church University, approached the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust to seek support for research into the effect that listening to and participating in music could have on people with a variety of conditions connected with deteriorating cognition and similar disorders. Trustees agreed funding for a five year programme to help develop this research and build a case to translate its findings into establishing practice that could offer positive benefits for older people, including those with dementia. This five year funding programme helped establish the Centre as a recognised authority, which in turn helped secure longer term funding from a variety of sources.
The main focus of the Centre’s work is researching the potential value of active participation in group singing for wellbeing and health, working regionally, nationally and internationally. The Centre has undertaken an evaluation of singers who meet in dozens of groups across the south east of England, often working in partnership with Primary Care Trusts and NHS Trusts, and other organisations, including the University of Kent.