• Jeremy Dibb

WARWICK HITTING THE RIGHT NOTES

'Warwick - A Singing Town' is a social entrepreneurship project, putting singing at the heart of the town of Warwick...

Warwick - A Singing Town was born out of a desire to support singing in local schools, but the potential to engage with the wider community and support the increasingly understood health benefits of singing soon became additional aspirations. The project has five aims: - to celebrate the joy of singing - for singing to be part of the artistic and cultural post-pandemic renewal in Warwick - for all residents to have access to high-quality singing and choral opportunities - for on-going, high-quality singing and choral opportunities to be part of every school pupil’s entitlement - for the therapeutic benefits of singing to be better understood, and promoted for our residents This project encompasses three distinct strategic strands: Happiness – singing releases neuro-transmittors in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin that actually make us feel better, Health – singing is the perfect exercise for the body and mind, and Harmony – singing is a shared activity that can bring communities together. Our weekly singing sessions engage over 1,600 children at nine local schools in regular singing and all Warwick schools are actively supportive of the project. We are in discussions with NHS colleagues and local community centre leaders and are looking forward to launching our very first singing activities to support a range of health issues and wellbeing. The response from the local choirs and organisations promoting singing has been 100% supportive as we work together to promote the numerous benefits of singing for the individual and for the community.

Next steps

The future for Warwick – A Singing Town is looking very exciting. Our end of first year ‘Singing Spectacular’ on 3rd July will highlight the singing in our schools with 1,000 children taking part in large scale singing workshops. The final of our ‘Warwick’s Got Singing Talent’ competition will take place on the same day. The positive response from the local choirs and organisations promoting singing will be highlighted in the very first ‘Warwick Choral Festival’ to be held over the summer. Equally important is our exciting programme of support for teachers in the delivery of the new model curriculum to develop skills in the classroom and build back the quality of music provision in our schools. Our aspiration is that Warwick – A Singing Town will help to support and provide evidence for the benefits of singing in education, health and the wider community.

Scaling up a sustainable expansion

Local funding from The King Henry VIII Endowed Trust to the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation has made this vision a reality in Warwick but this social entrepreneurship model has the potential for success in other towns across the country. Key to this is the engagement with and support from the local community, including creating patrons, local ‘singing ambassadors’ and gaining the support of the Town Council in addition to local schools, charities and churches. Singing is a ‘cultural glue’ that brings people together and reinforces social occasions. As such it has the potential to unify a range of local organisations, individuals and communities in a shared altruistic aim for cultural re-growth and community adhesion.