Superhero Singing

05 May 2016

"It's a really friendly environment. No judgement, no auditions, just a warm welcome and the joy of belting out a good tune."

Josephine Humphrey is a member of the Brighton Local People project, supported by disability charity Scope and funded by People's Health Trust.

In this blog piece, Josephine, talks about Brighton and Hove's first pan-disability choir.  

"Hi I am Josephine you can usually spot me in the choir; I’ll be the lady belting out a song in Batman PJ pants. I have Lupus, Fibromyalgia, a back injury, am a wheelchair user, and I love to sing. I find that even when I am in a lot of pain I feel much better after singing.  

"I LOVE to sing but there are not many fully accessible choirs that I know I can get to by myself and take part in. There is nothing worse than organising your life, storing some energy, turning up at a so-called accessible venue, only to find a great big step and no ramp, or a ramp but no accessible toilet, or having to explain yourself when you need to recline your wheelchair.  All of this was making life not as fun as I would like.

"But then came some more ‘Superheroes’: Christian Holder, Tom Isaacs, Scope and People’s Health Trust. I can’t vouch for the trousers they were wearing at the time but I am sure they were suitably epic.

"I met Tom and Christian who, like me, felt that more could be done locally to help disabled people access the happiness and health benefits of singing, as they believe having a disability can be “isolating and lonely”, and singing “builds self-esteem and confidence” as well as “making you feel good!”

"They bravely put together a funding bid - “one of the hardest things I’ve ever done” says Christian who has learning difficulties - to the Hove Local People project.  Ours is one of five Local People projects supported by Scope across England. A key part of the project is about asking disabled people what change is needed in their communities and providing resources for them to address the issues that matter to them most.

"What mattered to us, what we wanted, was a low cost community choir for all disabled people and their carers that would offer a safe space to explore and enjoy your voice, relieve stress, connect with others, boost health and wellbeing, express yourself and, most importantly, have fun!

"No small endeavour. But very happily the bid was successful and Shine Your Light Choir was born. Brighton and Hove’s first pan-disability choir for disabled adults and people with health conditions of all kinds and their carers.

"Well born but nowhere near fully grown. We had the money, we had the will, we had the name, we had a choir leader; what we didn’t have was a venue or a group of excited and willing choir participants. This is where I come in. Not only do I love to sing, but I also used to be a journalist for a living. It has been awhile, but it’s like riding a bike.

"It’s actually nothing like riding a bike and a lot like drinking free champagne and writing nice things about films you’ve never seen, but I felt confident I could help. And it was really nice to use my rusty skills again; design the logo, put together a press release and get the word out there. I had been feeling pretty useless as I’m going through a bad health patch but I got the choir launch in the local papers, on the local radio and most excitingly, got Christian, Tom and the lovely, helpful Harriet from Scope, on local TV.  Which made me feel a lot better about myself before a single note was sung.

"Oh and we also found a fully accessible venue at the end of my street. That’s so important to us. Shine Your Light Choir has level access, an accessible toilet and kitchen, and support volunteers. It’s a really friendly environment. No judgement, no auditions, just a warm welcome and the joy of belting out a good tune.

"Batman pants optional!"

Josephine Humphrey


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