Written by Karen Ireland
A choir which is to be made up of stroke patients and their families and supporters will hit all the right notes by taking part in a spectacular show next month as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations thanks to a lottery windfall from Culture for All.
Stroke Odysseys, was awarded a grant of £9,690, in the latest round of funding, to help patients and their families along with volunteers form a choir. The organisation is one of 24 projects to receive a total of £184,187, from the Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Culture for All programme which has now closed for applications.
Culture for All is a small grants programme which offered grants of up to £10,000 to communities across Northern Ireland wanting to play a part in the UK City of Culture celebrations in 2013. Community organisations could apply for funding up until the end of August to run arts and culture projects and activities linking in with the historic event, encouraging talent and improving the lives of people in communities.
Chris Rawlence, Creative Producer and Lyricist of Stroke Odysseys said creating a choir made up of people who had suffered a stroke will give a voice to those who have previously been unheard and often become invisible because of their conditions.
He added: “The project has been developed from Rosetta Life, which is a creative initiative which helps people with serious life threatening conditions expressive themselves through song, dance and performance and we advocate patients such as those who have had a stroke being able to tell their story and express themselves in this way.”
Stroke Odysseys will be teaming up with the stroke unit at Atnagelvin Hospital and NI Chest Heart and Stroke Association to gain referrals of patients who want to take part in the choir which will put on two special performances in Derry Playhouse in November.
Kay Duddy, from Omagh who volunteers with Chest Heart and Stroke Association, believes the project will make a huge difference to stroke patients.
She added: “This is a way for them to tell their story to express what has happened to them and to feel involved and part of something. I think it is a wonderful idea. I am not the best singer in the world but I am just looking forward to being part of something which is so special and which makes a difference.”