Sing with Us Community Development
Tenovus Cancer Care exists to help people affected by cancer. I give an overview as to how important Community Development has been in ensuring we help as many people as possible through our Sing with Us choir network.
Our mission at Tenovus Cancer Care is simple; to help more people affected by cancer where they need it, in their community. One of our services is Sing with Us, a network of community choirs based in Wales and England. We launched our first choir in 2010 in Pontypridd, and since then we now have 16 Sing with Us choirs in Wales and three in England. We support an amazing 1,500 people every week through their local choir.
We know that singing works. Our choristers have always told us that singing makes them feel better, so we worked with Cardiff University and the Royal College of Music to look at the psychosocial and biological impact of singing. We were really excited by what we found.
After singing in one of our rehearsals for just an hour, we could measure a decrease in the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and increases in endorphin and oxytocin levels, which relate to social bonding. There was also a positive change in a range of biomarkers related to immune function and inflammatory response in the body, both of which may be linked to the body’s ability to fight serious illnesses, including cancer.
To bring these amazing benefits to even more people affected by cancer, we’re looking at how we can expand our choirs into new areas, working with local communities to see how a Sing with Us choir could work for them. This is the basis for my work as Community Development Officer for Tenovus Cancer Care; we want to fully explore which places are interested in bringing a support choir to their area.
Because we know how much our members enjoy being part of a Sing with Us choir, it can be tempting to assume that every community wants one. However, by taking the approach that we have a service that might be useful and working with local people to see how it could work, allows us to better understand the needs of each individual area. This means that we work together on something that becomes their idea and is more likely to become a success.
Community spirit and culture is driven by individuals. The power of an individual to make something happen is often overlooked, but they provide the framework for a culture and ethos that can be replicated by others, causing an increase in momentum. We want to harness this power to help even more people affected by cancer.
If you want to know more about Tenovus Cancer Care and our Sing with Us choirs, we'd love to hear from you. You can drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org