Blind people left ‘totally isolated’ by lockdown given singing group lifeline

The Unscene Singers were given an £800 grant to continue online singing sessions. Picture: UNSCENE SINGERS

The Unscene Singers were given an £800 grant to continue online singing sessions. Picture: UNSCENE SINGERS


Blind people left bereft by the loss of their beloved Ipswich singing group’s activities during the Covid-19 crisis have been given an £800 lifeline to revive their livelihood.

Unscene Singers, Ipswich’s resident theatre company of visually impaired people, provides a vital activity and social club for partially sighted people in the town.

But the coronavirus pandemic meant the group was unable to hold its weekly workshops at DanceEast, causing increased isolation and loneliness during the crisis.

As well as group activities being restricted during lockdown, singing has been banned at events such as weddings for the foreseeable future, amid fears it could quickly spread the virus.

So, to help combat the group’s isolation, the Rotary Club of Ipswich has donated £800 to pay for Unscene Suffolk to have eight online singing sessions with professional coach Emma Bishton.

Carolyn Allum, a member of Unscene Suffolk, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to the Ipswich Rotary Club for their generous donation.

“These sessions have been a crucial support to many visually impaired members who might have otherwise felt totally isolated in this current situation.

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“We have been learning some new tracks and enjoying some old favourites via Zoom.

“Singing is a great tonic, and especially uplifting for the group at this very difficult time.”

Alfred Reeves, president of the Rotary Club of Ipswich, said: “The Rotary Club of Ipswich is delighted to be able to provide financial support to Unscene Suffolk to enable them to run a series of workshops for their members.

“We at the Rotary Club are well aware that the pandemic is adversely affecting those who are blind or partially sighted in our Community.

“In particular, the negative impact being isolated can have on a person’s emotional well-being and we very much hope that the sessions will bring some joy to its members.”

Unscene Suffolk is keen to continue to provide singing activities in the coming weeks and months.

However, its website says: “Unscene Suffolk relies on charitable funds and in this current pandemic finds it extremely challenging to offer these additional activities.”

To donate to the group, visit Unscene Suffolk’s Virgin Money Giving page.

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