Swansea Carers’ Choir singing out loud
Stuart Jones introduces the excellent Swansea Carers’ Choir who are inviting new members.
Swansea Carers’ Choir is the only carers’ choir in Wales, and we are now looking for new members. We have come a long way since we started, a year ago. Now that we are taking a summer break, this is a good time to spread the word, ahead of our return on September 14th.”
Creative space for Carers
There are 30,000 carers in Swansea (that’s one and a half times the number of people who pack into the Liberty Stadium for a Swans’ home match.) They all provide unpaid support to a family member or friend who could not manage without their help. As a group, carers save the country billions of pounds every year in health and social care costs. This is often at a personal cost of social isolation, limited life opportunities and increased physical and mental health problems of their own. The choir is a creative space where carers can go, to recharge their batteries.
It’s 2 hours away from it all, having a break from any worries. Having some “Me Time” at last!” (Choir member)
Singing does you a power of good
Swansea Carers’ Choir (follow us on Facebook here) was formed in July 2016 with the help of a Big Lottery Fund award, following a very successful series of taster sessions run by the Swansea Carers’ Centre. Carers are given the chance to meet and sing regularly together, regardless of whether they have sung before or even if they think they can’t sing at all (most people say they can’t!). It is well known that singing lifts your spirits, improves your breathing and enhances your self-confidence. It gives you creative contact with others and generally does you a power of good.
Can’t wait each week. Never done anything like it, but love it.” (Choir member)
Choir has helped me make friends with other carers in similar circumstances.” (Choir member)
Relaxed and supportive atmosphere
The Carers’ Choir is different from many other choirs. Its members are all carers or former carers. We sing for the fun of it and, because we don’t want anyone to miss out, we try to remove all barriers: we don’t hold auditions; we don’t use written music; we don’t use instruments or backing tracks; our sessions are free of charge (voluntary donations appreciated) and our venue is fully accessible with free on-site parking. We usually sit or stand in a circle and the atmosphere is relaxed, friendly and supportive.
The sessions are ‘drop in’ so we can fit sessions around our caring commitments.” (Choir member)
Easy going harmony
We sing songs from many different parts of the world and we learn them all by ear. We have a rule that no one passes judgment – either on their own voice or anybody else’s! We go at a pace that suits the group. No-one gets left behind and in no time at all, we’re enjoying the special pleasure of singing in harmony.
There is something about singing in harmony that enables me to switch off completely from worries at home and allows us to make a close connection with other members of the group.” (Choir member)
“For Singing Out Loud”
The choir has had a good year. We have overcome challenges and built a strong base for what lies ahead. We are pleased with our new venue, which is warm and light and lovely to sing in. We also love our new, democratically elected, name, “FOR SINGING OUT LOUD!” which has personality and connects us with other carers. We have a committee and a bank account now, too, which means we can apply for funds to continue running our sessions free of charge. We have a strong relationship with Swansea Carers Centre, whose support has been enormously helpful, this year, and we look to forward to continuing to work closely with them in reaching out to lots more carers in the year ahead.
Choir meets every Thursday in Sketty
Swansea Carers’ Choir resumes on September 14th and is always looking for new members. We meet every Thursday (11.30-1.30) during term time, at Bethel Uniting Church Hall, Sketty Park Road, Sketty, SA2 9AS (opposite Bishop Gore School). For more details, please contact Jody on 075399 57157 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Quotes used in this articles are from anonymous feedback from participants on the taster sessions.)
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