Reaching out with music

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Southland Girls' High School Year 7 pupils Sophie Ineson (left) and Kate Meulenbroek (both 11) take part in the SGHS Outreach Group entertaining and interacting with Enliven Peacehaven Village residents at the care village's Anderson Hall on Tuesday.

THE Outreach Singing group is hosting its first post Covid-19 Lockdown outreach at Enliven Peacehaven Village last Tuesday.

A group of Southland Girls’ High School (SGHS) pupils who volunteered to be part of the outreach, spent their lunchtimes on Tuesdays practising and visiting rest-homes to sing and chat with the residents.

Last Tuesday, the group held its first outreach since the lockdown was lifted, with two other groups visiting rest-homes throughout the week ity School at Enliven Peacehaven residential aged care facility today and Bupa Ascot Care Home on Saturday.

Outreach Singing was initiated in Southland by Sarah Lovell and Dr Sally Bodkin-Allen in 2016, and was based on an Australian model developed about 16 years ago by Susan West.

Bodkin-Allen said Southland’s Outreach Singing programme had received funding from the ILT and Community Trust, as well as from Go Bus, which provided free buses for the SGHS pupils to use.

Most outreaches usually went for about an hour. However, because the SGHS pupils visited the rest-homes in their lunch hour, it was reduced to about 40 minutes, Bodkin-Allen said.

“It’s not just a performance… the girls and residents socialise, sing together and talk to each other.”

She said the Tuesday event was even more special as it was the first after lockdown.

“It was a special time as the residents may have had little interaction with the rest of the world during lockdown.”

The pupils and residents chatted and sang, including a mixture of older songs such as How Much Is That Doggy In The Window and John Denver’s Country Roads.

“It’s about participation.”

Bodkin-Allen said she was really pleased with how the Outreach Singing had grown throughout the past four years, with various groups covering all ages.

“Anyone can join. This one [SGHS] has been going for three years, but there are other groups including the Saturday morning Out Of School Music Class with about 35 children.

“A lot of schools, including Ascot Community School, Otatara and Windsor North have done it, and are getting back into it.

“St John’s Girls’ School is also getting into it.”

People of all ages, including adults, got together “randomly” for the Outreach Singing as well, she said.

“So many people know about Outreach Singing… they just turn up and do it.

“They can find out on Facebook or Instagram. We meet up and sing now and again, and also hold weekend workshops occasionally.”

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