“Miracle” choir helps combat stress and helps families bond Every Home-Start, wherever they are, is based on volunteers delivering personalised life-changing support and friendship to families. But Home-Starts also come up with unique ways to support families in their community. Home-Start Glasgow North has set up a weekly choir for families and volunteers. The project has been funded by the local NHS to promote singing as a way to improve people’s resilience, mental health and well-being. Nikki O’Hara, manager of Home-Start Glasgow North said “We are encouraging families to sing together. This is strengthening family relationships, boosting confidence and overcoming isolation.” “The choir is designed to improve perinatal mental health, promote bonding between parents and children, and involve wider family members,” said Nikki. “When we have run music groups in the past, parents have told us that it helps with language skills, makes families more relaxed and teaches parents songs and games that they can use to engage their child.” For families the new choir has been incredibly popular, with a dozen people taking part each week. Patience is from Nigeria and has been supported by Home-Start for a year. She initially had a home-visiting volunteer, and now attends one of Home-Start Glasgow North's parent groups. “I was always looking forward to my volunteer coming,” said Patience. “She gave me confidence about myself and helped me decide who I really am.” After her volunteer support came to an end, Patience wanted to stay involved with Home-Start and she makes sure she comes to the parent group each week. And she has also joined the new choir. “The choir?” she asks, “Oh, my God! The choir is where you want to find yourself. You might be sad, or stressed, but once you’re in the choir, everything goes away. It’s like a miracle. Everything just disappears. It is a place where I am really happy.” The first hour of the choir is just for adults, with children joining for the last half an hour. But the group isn’t just for families, volunteers and staff members are encouraged to join in too. Sharon is one of Home-Start Glasgow North’s home-visiting volunteers. “I was a bit dubious, as I wouldn’t say I have the best of singing voices,” Sharon says. “But I went and it was absolutely fantastic. I just felt quite blessed afterwards. Once everyone started singing it just opened everybody up. It was uplifting and really brought everybody together.” Sharon explains why she thinks the choir has such an impact on everyone involved. “Music can touch the parts no other things can,” she says. “Everyone is quite sad when it comes to the end of our session. I think it is a very uniting thing that we are doing.” Click here to visit Home-Start Glasgow North's website.