On a recent Thursday morning, the foyer of Colston Hall is filled with the sound of singing voices.
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Sheltered accommodation, which is specifically designed to help elderly people and younger disabled people live independently, is often formed of self-contained flats with communal facilities.
However, residents can often find themselves isolated from others, with one residency warden, Tom, saying: “We run events in the accommodation, but find that people don’t always attend.”
The project, which provides taxis for residents to come to different locations to sing over tea and cake, is a great antidote to loneliness.
“It takes them about a week to get into it but then they love it,” says Tom. “We’re not going to fill Colston Hall, but it’s not about that. It’s about being happy and bringing people together.”
Residents from Stow House, St Catherine’s Court and Mill House came together to sing songs like Jailhouse Rock and Fly Me to the Moon, as well as Christmas songs – all of which were chosen by the residents with help from the wardens.
Serious Trust provided funding for the project, as well as funding the local singing leaders, Omar and Ally. Both Omar and Ally work across Bristol and Bath to make singing accessible to everyone.
Bristol Music Trust have provided coordination between Serious and Bristol City Council, making sure that the sometimes-insular life of those living in sheltered accommodation is combated.
“Serious have been delighted to work in partnership with Bristol Music Trust and see the success of this project which has brought music and the arts to a new audience in their local community,” said Grace Lindley, learning and participation coordinator at the charity.
The project is coming to a close over Christmas, but hopes to receives funding to continue in the new year.
All photos taken by Duncan Smith