The Include Choir: singing and signing!
In November 2019, The Health Lottery team were delighted to visit the Include Choir team in Redhill! The choir were putting on their fabulous Big Sing event, described by choir founder Alix Lewer as “a chance to teach some signs and songs, break down barriers in the community and learn from each other!”
The Include Choir were awarded £19,028 by People’s Health Trust for a two-year project, using funds raised by Health Lottery South East. This builds on weekly sessions of their inclusive choir in east Surrey, involving people with learning disabilities and/or communication needs. The aim of the project is to increase opportunities for social contact, increase wellbeing and self-esteem, and empower people to improve their communication skills through singing. The project is led by a steering group of participants.
“Many of our members struggle with communication, which can be extremely isolating and lead to mental health issues,” Alix explained. “At Include Choir, we combat a variety of societal issues and ensure that each member is welcomed with open arms.” The Big Sing event was also attended by Reigate and Banstead mayor Keith Foreman, who described the choir as a “wonderful organisation” and awarded certificates to those who have made an outstanding contribution.
The Health Lottery team had a marvellous time meeting the choir members, learning Makaton sign language, and giving some iconic Christmas carols a good belt! We’d like to thank them for their kind welcome, and their delicious cakes! We wish the choir all the best for their upcoming performances over Christmas.
Martin Ellice, joint managing director at The Health Lottery, was keen to thank the choir for their work in breaking down social stigmas and tackling social isolation. “We are always delighted to hear of organisations that are inclusive and welcome each individual member with open arms,” he said. “The Include Choir does exactly this. It is a true credit to the passion of Alix and her team, and to the generosity of our players who help keep vital projects like this thriving. Thus far, we’ve raised over £11 million for the South East region alone and we hope to raise millions more in the future.”