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Sirona aphasia choir still running amid COVID and reaching out across the globe

By 5th May 2020No Comments

A choir set up to assist people with aphasia (communication problems after stroke) has not only continued amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but has thrived, attracting interest from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

South Gloucestershire Aphasia Choir was set up by Sirona’s Speech and Language Therapy team in late 2019 as singing for people with aphasia can improve wellbeing, mood and social support; most people, even with very severe aphasia, are still able to sing.

The choir initially included people in South Gloucestershire with the condition who met weekly  at the Brockeridge Centre in Frampton Cotterell but when the lockdown began, South Gloucestershire Aphasia Choir teamed up with a sister choir in Bath, Bath Aphasia Choir, and they recorded choir sessions and posted on their website each Tuesday.

This format attracted people from further away to take part and word spread and it is now worldwide all thanks to the use of video technology. Since then the choirs have also hosted live Zoom choir sessions for their members each week too.

Emma Richards, Clinical Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Sirona care & health, said: “I am so proud of the way the choir has taken off, especially during the global pandemic. The music therapy students have worked incredibly hard despite having to stop their placement early as they were no longer able to attend face to face session due to lockdown.

“Research had shown the benefit of singing to people with Aphasia and we felt it would be a beneficial addition to what we already did with our service users.

“Now most people are at home, the choir has become even more important, offering social interaction as well as the opportunity to use their voice.

“It’s amazing that we are now able to offer this opportunity to so many more people than we ever would have imagined and have had some amazing feedback. It shows that with a bit of innovation we can still provide much needed support to people with communication difficulties isolated in their homes.”

Janet Rowse, Chief Executive of Sirona, said:We’re committed to treating individuals as we would our own loved ones and we know that often, it’s the small things which really make the difference.

“Being able to reach out to people with aphasia using modern technology while they are stuck at home means we can continue to offer them high quality support.

“While taking part in a choir may seem like a small thing, to people with aphasia who are self-isolating it can make a huge difference.”

South Gloucestershire and Bath Aphasia Choirs will continue to run these weekly recorded and live choirs during the Covid-19 lockdown including making DVDs for those without computers.

To access the videos, join the choir or just find our more, please visit www.voicesofaphasia.com f