Blog Sing to raise your Christmas spirits! It wouldn’t be Christmas without carol singers. So on Day 11, we ask you to join a local choir group and go carol singing. There are several studies that have shown over the years that singing has various benefits to our health. One study found that singing in a choir increased people’s well-being, whilst another suggested it released the ‘happy hormone’, helping to lower stress. It is also known to give people a sense of belonging, which is why we felt it fit rather snuggly in our Community Advent Calendar. At our drop-in centre in Kent, the Community Network, a choir group called The Cheritown Warblers meet every Monday morning to rehearse. What makes this group unique is that it’s fully inclusive – there are people we support with complex needs, those who do it because they are socially isolated and those who do it because they love to sing. They are well known in the community and perform at a range of gigs, from the Christmas light switch on in Cheriton to elderly care homes where they may find it more difficult to come out to a gig in town. Here, Mark, who helps run the choir, tells us about their latest gig at our London carol service: “We pick up the minibus at 8:30, then off to the Community Network to pack the guitar, get lyrics together and wait for the Warblers to arrive. Everyone arrives with wheelchairs, walking sticks and a packed lunch, all well wrapped up to face the London cold. They chat excitably about the day ahead. Armed with Sat nav’s and route planners, we head up to London. After a spot of lunch, we head for a ramble round the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Bratwurst sausages eaten and then back to the church to sing. We all congregate on the church steps. Lyrics ready, guitar ready, Ukulele’s ready, banner unfurled and then burst into song to welcome the concert revellers. The Cheritown Warblers welcoming guests outside St Peter’s Church Half an hour later, we’re seated in the church to watch the rest of the service. United Response’s President Martyn Lewis, includes the Warblers in his message of thanks and pride swoops among us. After mince pies, beverages and a chat with other revellers, it’s time to go. We take a wrong turning on the way back and end up going past Big Ben, much to the delight of the Warblers! Home at last, another adventure over and another one just around the corner for the Community Choir ‘The Cheritown Warblers’." December really is a good time to join your local choir and sing your heart out to Christmas carols - you might make friends and even have some fun! You can help us create more groups and activities in the community like the Warblers choir by donating to our social isolation appeal. Mark Stone, Community Network and Natalie Millbank, community and event fundraiser.