Northern Proud Voices, the North East’s largest and longest-running LGBT community choir, has been awarded almost £10,000 by the Big Lotto Fund.
Big Lotto Fund grants – from the UK National Lottery – are awarded to organisations in the UK to help improve their communities.
Singing out proud and flying the rainbow flag for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans inclusivity, Northern Proud Voices are thrilled to have won their funding bid.
The award will part-fund a yearlong project promoting equality and diversity, raising awareness of LGBT issues, and encouraging others to join the singing community. The scheme will culminate with Northern Proud Voices representing the North East region at Hand in Hand 2017, a national LGBT choir festival to be held in Manchester.
Kathleen MacDonald, chairperson of Northern Proud Voices, said: “This grant means a huge amount to myself and our members, and we thank the Big Lotto Fund for showing us their support. It will allow us to reach out further into the community and continue to offer a welcoming and inclusive space for LGBT people and allies.
“Our plans for the grant include outreach to rural areas, special events for LGBT history month, and offering our current members musical workshops in the run up to Hand in Hand 2017. Most importantly, the grant will support our ongoing aim of combating homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.”
The choir was created in 2011 by a small group of singers. In 2016, it is now award-winning, has over 100 registered members, and performs annually at Pride celebrations across the North East and Cumbria.
Research shows communal singing improves both physical and mental health; helping with depression and loneliness, and increasing a sense of community and belonging – issues affecting many people, often those identifying as LGBT.
Choir member, Simon Smith, said: “Not only is the choir great fun but it helps change perceptions some people have of the LGBT community. I’m proud to be part of such a diverse group of people brought together by music.”
Northern Proud Voices rehearses every Thursday 7-9pm (excluding August) at The Mining Institute, Newcastle upon Tyne.
The choir can be found on Facebook and Twitter and welcomes new members, of all ability, at any time.
For more information about Northern Proud Voices, click here: