A KIND-HEARTED new group is bringing rays of happiness to care home residents and their families across Shaw and Oldham by delivering entertainment and interesting activities.
Bring Me Sunshine was launched by Kelly Tracey, who lives in Moorside, in May and is already having an uplifting effect across the borough. Armed with instruments, dressing up clothes and wigs and her fantastic singing voice, Kelly provides entertainment to help create special memories for residents and their relatives.
She said: “Staff are amazing with the care they deliver looking after residents but bringing a bit of entertainment is often something they don’t have the time or money to do.
“I have worked in that environment as an activities co-ordinator so I know what’s missing.
Sometimes it’s the simple things we take for granted, like music and games.
“Many people might say, ‘What’s the point? They won’t remember in ten minutes because they’ve got dementia?’
“But music triggers something in everybody so they can have some fun, and it helps you to create new memories with them rather than just seeing them as stuck in a care home.
“I just try to get a smile or a foot tap so I know each person is enjoying it. I also spend time with people who are restricted to their beds as well so they can be part of the interaction.”
Music is in Kelly’s veins as she was formerly a full-time singer under the stage name Kelli Stephans, with her husband Stephen helping her with staging and lighting.
Entertaining was put on the back burner for 10 years after their son was born but now Kelly has returned to the industry full-time, albeit with a slightly different audience.
As well as bringing joy to families across the borough, Kelly’s new organisation is her own family affair as it is named in memory of her father-in-law who was also a singer.
And her mum Majorie Schofield, who runs Marj’s Catering in Shaw, provides food for their events and fundraisers.
Kelly is working closely with Action for Oldham to register Bring Me Sunshine as an official charity so they can develop and provide as many activities as possible.
She said: “At the moment we’re holding small fundraisers regularly and starting to build up a pot of money – so please tell everyone about us and what we do.
“The response has been fantastic so far. I’ve already got other people who want to deliver their services, including a magician, dancing, and holistic therapies.
“When everything is set up officially, we’ll be able to do a lot more, such as accept donations and sponsorship to enable us to deliver all these sessions and more.”
Kelly has also been carrying out other projects at care homes, such as transforming one under-used garden area after putting out an appeal on Facebook for pots and furniture and being overwhelmed by donations.
She also works with Ambitions, a non-profit organisation set up nine years ago by Jonathan Griffiths-Barnes to deliver social events in a safe environment for people with additional needs.
Find out more about Bring Me Sunshine on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/sunshineentertainment
You can support them by donating online: www.gofundme.com/f/bring-me-sunshine