A community choir for residents of Oldham – aimed at people who would most benefit from engaging in regular music sessions including those with mental health problems, long-term unemployed, refugees, living in poverty.
· What is it?
Oldham Voices is an informal, fun, community singing group. We aim to use the benefits of music and singing to encourage people to progress and meet personal targets, or to simply develop their confidence, self-esteem and make new friends.
The sessions are led by an experienced workshop leader who is a professional musician. A support worker is also present to help the group get the most out of the session, to encourage them in achieving their set targets and to signpost them to other services.
Each session lasts for 2 hours which includes a break for tea, biscuits and socialising. We do not ask people to audition, sessions are free, it doesn’t matter if you have never sung before – everyone is welcome.
· Why Oldham?
Levels of deprivation across the borough are generally ranked among the highest in the country. Oldham currently has four areas within the borough which are among the top 1% of the nation’s most deprived areas.
Oldham has high rates of residents with long term illness/disability and large numbers of inhabitants choosing not to work and a Higher than national average for the most common mental health problems (depression and anxiety).
Life expectancy in Oldham is over two years less than England as a whole.
7435 three-day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis last year.
· Why is there a need for this?
There are a number of community choirs throughout Oldham and Manchester, however many require you to audition, be able to read music, pay a regular fee, or are restricted in the style/genre of music they perform.
There is a growing evidence base for the benefits of engaging in regular music activities and a call for more creative approaches to helping vulnerable people.
The key aims are to:
· Encourage and enable participation in the arts to develop self-esteem, confidence and social skills
· Improve wellbeing
· Enable participants to move on to achieve their personal targets – for example taking on paid work or volunteering, or engaging with therapy for a mental illness.
· Next steps
6 week pilot project (to develop partnerships with local organisations and recruit up to 30 participants to take place in an initial series of 6 sessions). The project would be evaluated using pre and post project questionnaires completed by participants, the workshop leader and support worker to inform a more long-term project.
Funding required - £850