Last weekend I stood on a stage (as far behind everyone else as I could) and sang ‘Making your mind up’ as ‘Bucks Fuzz’ in a spoof Eurovision contest. I was way out of my comfort zone – I hadn’t even realised it was a competition, albeit a fun one, until I turned up as I’d missed one or two rehearsals.
The thing is, I ended up having the best laugh I have had for ages. Belly shaking laughs. And that was because I was with my community singing group which I joined over a year ago and have sung everything from One Direction to Greek folk songs (in Greek!). I’m not a great singer but sang at school and I can read music so it helps – but I definitely don’t like getting up and performing. Put me on a stage to speak about business, no problem at all – that’s my comfort zone and I deliver speeches all the time. But singing/acting/dancing is a nightmare!
The singing group has a huge range of ages, our oldest is in his 80’s and every one of us leaves our problems at the door and have a lot of fun – together. What I felt last weekend – apart from the collywobbles – was a great sense of belonging. And this is what is important about clubs and groups – they bring people together and provide opportunities for social interaction, a sense of belonging, which ultimately surely affects health and well being.
This is why Groop is so important for communities. At some point we will be evaluating our clubs and groups more formally than case studies and reviews (and of course data reports) and I can’t wait to do this – I hope it will eventually provide more funding and support for communities to take part in something they enjoy or at the very least, give people a sense of belonging – face to face.