Every Wednesday at 7:30pm something magical happens at Redhill Baptist Church. This is the time and place where The Include Choir convene to perform songs together in a celebration of inclusiveness and acceptance.
The Include Choir, as the name suggests, is all about inclusion. The main aim of the choir, set up by specialist speech and language therapist and musician, Alix Lewer, is to highlight the importance of inclusive communication, and how that promotes social inclusion.
A lot of people (with learning disabilities, dementia, post-stroke or brain injury) can find understanding and using words alone a challenge. The Include Choir’s emphasis on inclusive communication mean that all forms of communication are respected and used, not just speech. The choir uses evidence-based communication techniques (Makaton signing, pictures, easy words, body language, objects etc) to show people what can help, whilst simultaneously making the choir itself more accessible and inclusive to its members.
By using these inclusive communication techniques in rehearsals and when they perform, The Include Choir hope to raise awareness of communication disability, something they fear is often overlooked or misunderstood in wider society. Over 1 million people in the UK have a learning disability, and around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autistic spectrum; yet social isolation is still a real challenge, as it is for people with dementia or other acquired communication difficulties. This is something the choir aim to educate the public on, whilst also helping those who are dealing with such challenges. In addition, the choir helps to form skilled and inclusive communication partners of its members, which they hope will lead to the creation of more inclusive communities for people who find understanding or using words alone challenging.
Music is a universal language that we all share and enjoy. It is therefore the perfect way for Alix and co to work alongside, provide support for and learn from people who experience communication needs. It doesn’t stop at the choir though, as the parent organisation Include.org (currently registering as a CIO) is taking this even further with plans to raise awareness across the county and beyond, and help create support for people with communication needs in all organisations and communities, through training, campaigning and inclusive services.
The Include Choir has done so much since its formation, with support and membership growing fast. However, with big plans to get the choir heard across Surrey, and to help as many people as possible, it’s vital that the public get behind this wonderful initiative.
If you wish to help support The Include Choir, here are six easy ways you can do so:
- Subscribe to the Include Choir YouTube Channel
The Include Choir puts out loads of great video content and their YouTube channel serves as a hub for the choir to promote the fantastic work they do. An easy way to show your support and get behind The Include Choir is to simply subscribe to their channel and share their videos with the world. Click here to visit their YouTube channel. If they can reach 100 subscribers, they would be able to have their own url (You Tube Address) which would help make the channel more accessible to people with learning or literacy needs.
- Shop online with Easy Fundraising
That’s right, you can raise money for The Include Choir just by shopping. Simply follow this link to the Easy Funding website and select The Include Choir as your charity. You can then collect free donations for The Include Choir while you shop. They don’t take any financial details from you, and it doesn’t cost anything.
- Become an Executive Committee Member
As the choir has grown from strength to strength, it understandably needs more hands on deck. Perhaps you have what it takes to make The Include Choir even better in years to come, and would be interested in giving your time for just 4 meetings a year with a great bunch of people. You are welcome to visit as a guest to see what it’s all about. Just click here to email or phone Alix on 07446 897835.
- Come and sing!
An inclusive choir is only inclusive if singers without learning or communication disabilities lend their voices too. Fancy joining the choir? Rehearsals are Wednesdays, 7:30-9:00pm at Redhill Baptist Church. For more details, please click here to email the Include Choir or phone Alix on 07446 897835.
As the organisation grows, both the Include Choir and Include.org are looking for people with a range of skills, so whether you are local to Redhill or not, you may well be able to help. To find out more, click here to go to the Do-It Trust Website to see the range of roles, or click here to get in touch.
The Include Choir is run entirely by volunteers who work really hard to secure the funds to keep the choir running. If you would like to help, you can give a single or regular donation via Golden Giving. Click here to visit their Golden Giving page. Every little really helps!
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