Funding, Organisations

Tackling loneliness one note at a time

16th February, 2023

Glenlough Community Choir, based in rural North East Antrim, is calling for people of all abilities and ages, to join their new Pick-Me-Up Choirs, a project presented in partnership with the Northern Area Community Network, which aims to address the social isolation and loneliness that can often be experienced by people living in rural areas. The Pick-Me-Up Choir project starts on 23rd February and is supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Rural Engagement Arts Programme (REAP).

Glenlough Community Choir performing with Director Anne McCambridge
The Pick Me Up Choir is looking for people to get involved!

REAP aims to provide an integrated, cohesive approach to the needs of rural communities as they emerge from the global Covid-19 pandemic. The overarching theme of the Arts Council established programme is to tackle isolation and loneliness, and promote social inclusion and wellbeing through participation in the arts in rural areas.

The Pick-Me-Up choirs will meet for seven weeks and people can just turn up on the day to the free sessions taking place at the following locations and times:

Carnlough Heritage Hub, Thursdays at 11.00-12.30
Broughshane Fold, Thursdays at 14.00-15.30
Bridge Hall in Glenarm, Fridays at 11.00-12.30
Ballygalley Community Centre, Fridays at 13.00-14.30

The project will culminate with a Pick-Me-Up Performance Day on Saturday 22nd April when all the singers, from over the seven weeks, will perform alongside Glenlough Community Choir, the award-winning Open Arts Community Choir and other professional musicians.

Anne McCambridge, Director of Glenlough Community Choir, commented,

"We can’t wait to welcome both the larks and the crows from Ballygalley, Broughshane, Carnlough and Glenarm areas to be part of our Pick Me Up Chorus on Thursdays and Fridays over the next two months! All that’s required is that you love to sing.

Singing is so good for our bodies and our souls, it helps us create new connections within our rural communities by addressing the effects of social isolation, post-covid. We look forward to sharing the joy of connection through music during these free rehearsal sessions. We are building up to Saturday 22nd April, when all our groups will sing together as part of our ‘Pick-Me-Up Performance Day’ with Glenlough Community Choir, the world renowned Open Arts Community Choir, and our own excellent house band.”

Sonya Whitefield, Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support Glenlough Community Choir through the Rural Engagement Arts Programme. We know that taking part in arts activities can raise self-esteem, boost confidence and motivation, as well as alleviate isolation and loneliness. The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have taken a toll on individual lives, with mental health and well-being adversely effected and this has been compounded in rural communities which are characterised by smaller, more dispersed populations.

Thanks to The National Lottery players, this funding will increase opportunities for people living in rural communities to engage and participate in meaningful arts activities, enriching their lives for the better. The Arts Council believes that arts can make a vital contribution to building wellbeing, confidence and healthy, integrated communities.”

Watch Choir Director Anne McCambridge talk about the project here -