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Embracing the collective power of singing with National Lottery funded community impact choirs

Yesterday, 122 community groups across Wales are celebrating receiving a share of over £6.5 million in funding, thanks to National Lottery players. These grants will help groups carry out their important and varied work in supporting their communities. 

Amongst those who have received funding are two community choirs, who are making a vital difference to the lives of their members and communities.

In Cardiff, Oasis One World Choir CIC is using a £16,750 grant to establish a new choir for young people seeking sanctuary, to help with their integration into life in the UK. The grant from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in Wales, will enable the choir to deliver singing, songwriting and dance sessions for children and young people. The organisation’s regular group members are from displaced families of current war situations, so these sessions offer a safe space where they can learn new skills and make friends. 

Fatima, an Oasis One World Choir Youth Group member, said: “I would describe the music club as fun, creative, maybe the most fun club I’ve ever had. Playing fun rhythms, meeting new people. We get to make new songs together, it’s good, extraordinary, creative, supernatural.”

Amir, another choir member, said: “Before I joined this project, I was scared to play in front of people but now I can easily go up on stage and sing and play my violin. I think that projects like this are important because it shows young people that they have a voice too. I learn a lot about multi-cultural languages and diversity, it’s really friendly and welcoming.”

Meanwhile in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Skills and Volunteering Cymruis using an £18,600 grant to establish a choir for adults with additional needs, volunteers and carers in the local community The inclusive choir aims to allow community members to build relationships, develop their musical skills and reduce isolation. The choir will make use of spaces in the heart of communities which would otherwise be unused. 

Sam, a volunteer with the choir, said: “I feel privileged as a volunteer to be a part of a project that generates so much confidence, connection, positive creation and sheer joy. It’s so encouraging and inspiring to see community projects like this in place at time when it’s so needed.”

Another volunteer, John, said: “I’m very proud to be taking part in this project. As a musician, I help with a guitar to add a bit of rhythm to the songs or to help slow them down for ease of participants' learning. There are so many gifted singers in the choir and to see the group developing each week and having such fun whether singing or dancing along, is a sight to behold.”

Hilary, who also volunteers, added: “Each week, watching the joy spread on the faces of our choir members is just wonderful. Their confidence and their voices are growing with every passing week. I feel privileged to be a part of this.”

These two choirs make up only a fraction of the projects who have received this latest round of grants from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. Their funding is possible thanks to National Lottery players, who raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.

John Rose, Wales Director of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We are proud to fund these choirs, who are using the power of collective singing to support their communities to come together. It is great to see their National Lottery grants empowering them to help children and young people thrive, as well as supporting adults with disabilities.”

For a full list of funded projects, click here.

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