The Choir with No Name run choirs for people who've experienced homelessness or who are otherwise marginalised. This is done under the idea that singing makes people feel good and can distract you from the negativity in life.
At The Choir with No name – Everyone is welcome!
They’re a diverse bunch of folks; all genders, backgrounds, sizes, ages, singing any genre of music. There are currently 4 choirs (two in London, one in Birmingham and one in Liverpool) who rehearse once a week, and sit down together for a free hot meal afterwards.
"Quite simply, Choir with No Name has given me something to live for."
The choir rehearsals offer a safe, welcoming space for members to make friends, learn skills, grow in confidence and get themselves back on their feet.
They have garnered quite a bit of media attention, performing at major venues across the country, including The Royal Festival Hall, St Georges Hall Liverpool and Brighton Dome.
The charity also offers outreach workshops at homeless day centres, hostels and services for people at risk of homelessness.
How it started:
The London choir was first set up back in 2008 when founder Marie Benton, Gospel singer and saxophonist, decided to resign from her post at St Mungo's and follow her dream of starting a choir for homeless people. She dreamed of members and volunteers supporting each other through tough times and coming together to bond over the joys of rehearsal and performance.
Homelessness in London is close to a record high. Whilst it is true that a vast majority of homeless families and Londoners sleeping rough can be attributed to the lack of affordable housing, there are also many socio-environmental reasons why one could end up homeless. In a lot of cases, even when rehoused, those individuals may feel alone and socially isolated.
The stigma attached to homelessness often places blame on the individual, and undervalues the capabilities of those in these difficult situations… When the sad reality is that becoming homeless could happen to anyone.
The choir rehearsals act as a safe place for people to have fun and express themselves, without feeling labelled or judged. The charity in turn tackles stigma, as it highlights the achievements of its members and changes stereotypes in the eyes of the audiences!
In 2016, the choirs have touched combined audiences of over 15,000 and had over 968 vulnerable adults benefit from their services.
Want to join:
To join the South London choir, all you need to do is pop down to a rehearsal on a Tuesday evening.
There’s no audition and they won’t hassle you for anything when you arrive; you’ll just be invited to sing and to have dinner.
If you like it and want to go back, great! No pressure.
The choir meet every Tuesday night at 7pm at a community centre called:
Pembroke House, 80 Tatum St, London, SE17 1QR
If you have any questions about what to expect, you can call 0207 202 6647 - They’re happy to help!
How can you help:
None of the choirs would exist without a dedicated team of amazing volunteers. You don't need to be able to sing to get involved!
1. Volunteer - CWNN are looking for...
- Cooks - People who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty and who can cook for the masses…They’ll help you with ideas!
- Musicians – Experienced musicians who can sing, lead warm-ups, or play instruments in choir rehearsals.
- Assistants - You could help out at gigs and shake fundraising buckets at events.
You can donate via mobile
- Just text SING to 70300 to donate £3, or CHOIR to 70500 to donate £5 - It's that easy!
You can also donate by sending a good old-fashioned cheque to: The Choir with No Name, 33 Rushworth Street, London SE1 0RB.
People have raised funds for the charity by holding their own gigs, running marathons, raffling paintings, selling cakes, cycling… you name it!
Get in touch and find out more!
Address: The Choir with No Name, 33 Rushworth Street, London, SE1 0RB