Lord-Lieutenant, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I was delighted to be asked to assist the Lord-Lieutenant by assessing a group nominated for the Queen’s Award, along with my fellow Deputy Lieutenant, Lady Evans-Lombe who unfortunately is unable to be present today.
Sing Your Heart Out provides a welcoming friendly environment where people with mental health issues can enjoy singing to improve their wellbeing, meet other people, and simply enjoy singing in a group. Participants have reported improved wellbeing, lifted moods, and less need for medication. They also find their self-confidence improves as a result of joining the sessions, such that some become volunteers using their new skills to benefit others.
The majority of the volunteers are users or former users of mental health services, and they too have benefitted form the therapeutic value of singing, but also from being part of the organising of the project, taking charge, and shaping its future. This has built and developed their confidence and skills.
The group is well regarded within local statutory health and social services, and voluntary and independent organisations, who refer people to it for help. It also maintains a strong relationship with the local mental health NHS Trust.
Sing Your Heart Out is quite outstanding as a wholly volunteer-based project which is a testament to the value - particularly for people with mental health problems - of musical therapy for the mind, body and soul, and they wholly deserve their Award.