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Giving Voice

 
Giving Voice
How sharing our songs and stories can bring liberation
and connection in our communities
 
This April we will be celebrating Spring with a wonderful Giving Voice concert in support of St Christopher's Hospice Compassionate Neighbours programme   The programme offers free community-led support for anyone experiencing loneliness or social isolation because of age or illness and also has the wider effect of building neighbourliness.  Singing has been at the heart of events since the start of the programme in October 2017 - and our event will feature song and story from London Mozart Players, St Christopher's Hospice Community Choir, Faithworks Gospel Choir, Joe Duggan and myself & singers from 4 choirs.  Steph Turner (Community Participation Lead for Compassionate Neighbours) and I chose the title Giving Voice to reflect the essential, empowering role giving voice to our personal and shared stories plays in creating liberation and connection in our communities.
 
Liberating Testimony
Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else's prison. Don't be afraid to share it. - Anon
Personal stories often touch on themes and issues that resonate with all of us.  I was deeply moved by the bravery of the women who shared their testimony through story, written /spoken word and music at our International Women's Day Croydon event.   To name just a few, Miss Yankey, Cllr Toni Letts and Esther Austin shared their experiences of domestic abuse in inspirational, uplifting speeches and spoken word.  Nicky Nicholls touched us all deeply by sharing her story of survival from brutal child abuse, as told in her book written with Elizabeth Sheppard, Not A Proper Child.  Nicky's message that 'it’s never too late to begin a new life – never too late to be happy!'  is one that can touch, inspire and empower us all. 

Creating Connection
Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing. - Rollo May
Having lived in areas of London where I never saw or spoke to my neighbours, I've really value the neighbourly connection here in Crystal Palace. It brings a sense of warmth and safety - there is a door to knock on should there ever be an emergency.  There is also a sense of pulling together around shared issues - whether that be threats from avaricious developers or simply dealing with the bins.   Healthy communication is a core part of building community connection - whether it's just a wave and a smile when passing each other on the street or sharing our own stories with one another.  
 
Solidarity in Shared Voices
By talking about what you're going through, you're giving voice to a group that might not otherwise be heard from - Anon
Members of Compassionate Neighbours have been creating poetry with Joe Duggan which will be shared with their stories at our event as part of a process of reflection and celebration of the work of the programme.   Their stories will no doubt enrich all of us.  I've written a song from my own reflections on the power of Giving Voice which will be sung by members of the choirs- my own Welcome Choir and Carers Choir and Janna Goodwille's choirs Sydenham Singers & Vauxhall Voices who I've been covering whilst she is travelling.  I would encourage everyone, in the words of the song to Let Your Voice Fly Free- for as we liberate ourselves, so we liberate and connect with those around us.

Sending you Spring Songshine