In honour of World Music Day, we’re celebrating one of our most musical services – United Response Community Network in Folkestone. We spoke to Mark Stone, community senior support worker at the service.  

The Community Network is a place for both people we support and the local community to come together, share their interests and build meaningful relationships, which enable natural networks of support to develop.

They host a wide variety of activities and groups, including several musical sessions.

The Cheritown Warblers

Perhaps their most well-known is The Cheritown Warblers group: an inclusive choir that has been running for four years.

It was initially formed to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee at the town's local event but everyone loved it so much they wanted to carry it on! Mark said he has “witnessed people grow in confidence, and seen an acceptance, understanding and acknowledgement of people being part of such an inclusive group".

The group has grown quite the following and now takes regular bookings to sing at various events and in care homes.

Carl, a member of the local community, said: “I enjoy coming to the Warblers to meet my happy friends. Everyone is friendly.”

Music bonds people

The Community Network also holds fortnightly open mic nights that are hugely successful and a whole host of people regularly attend. It is an opportunity for everyone to get out in their local community, see some entertainment and make new friends, or meet up with old ones.

There’s a big variety of musical activities including weekly jamming sessions, a hand chime choir and ukulele band, and inclusive music sessions using accessible Soundbeam equipment, meaning anyone can make music even with just the blink of an eye.

Jimmy Mac, aged 86, who holds a regular sing-along session, says coming to the Community Network was "the best thing I’ve done for a long time. You just couldn’t buy the friendship that I encounter there".

Help us bring more communities together

Having regular groups like these mean the people we support are able to meet others in their local community and form natural relationships over common interests. Bonding with others over music and creativity is as old as time, and it is so brilliantly fostered at the Community Network.

Many of these groups and activities have received funding through our community grants programme and have naturally become self-sustaining over time. To help us to do more work like this, please make a donation.

Donate now

Keen to find out more about what's going on at the Community Network? Check out their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @UR_Cheriton

Sarah Riddlestone, fundraising assistant.