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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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New boss for dementia charity

This news post is over 1 year old

Michelle Armstrong-Surgenor has been named as executive director of Playlist for Life

A charity that uses the power of music to help those with dementia has named a new boss.

Playlist for Life has appointed Michelle Armstrong-Surgenor as its executive director.

Armstrong-Surgenor joined the charity in 2019 as head of operations and has held the role of interim executive director since August 2020.

She has extensive experience in the private and voluntary sector, beginning her third-sector career in 2013 at Cancer Research UK, before taking on the CEO role at Hearts and Minds — the Scottish health-in-arts charity.  

She is a member of the board of trustees for Aberlour Children’s Charity and was previously a panel member of The Scottish Fundraising Standards and Adjudication Panel. Earlier in her career, Armstrong-Surgenor worked for various multinational organisations in locations across Europe, the Middle East and Canada.

Music and dementia charity Playlist for Life was founded in 2013 by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson after the death of her mother, who lived with dementia. The charity aims to ensure that everyone living with the dementia has a playlist of personal music and that everyone who cares for them to know how to use the playlist effectively. Over two decades of scientific research has shown that listening to a personal playlist can improve the lives of those living with dementia. Sally Magnusson still sits on the board of trustees as Honorary President.

Armstrong-Surgenor said: “The work of Playlist for Life has always held great significance for me, so I’m very excited to take on this role and lead the charity. For many years my grandma, who had Alzheimer’s, lived at home with us. My mother was her primary carer and received very little external support. A personal playlist of meaningful music is a simple way to make a huge difference to the lives of people affected by dementia.

“Supporting people living with dementia has never been more important as the pandemic has undoubtedly been an extremely difficult time for those living with dementia, their families and carers. But, even in the toughest of times, music can help.” 

Sandra Stark, chair of the board of trustees, said: “Michelle’s achievements and commitment to the charity are very clear and we are excited that she will formally lead our committed team of staff and volunteers to bring the benefits of personal music to people with dementia, their families and carers across the UK.”



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