With One Voice introduction

One voice funding helps breaks down isolation

CREATIVITY Australia is seeking individuals and organisations interested in creating a happier, healthier Australia through joining the voices of disparate communities into one song.

Under its With One Voice project, the not-for-profit organisation is offering up to five seed funding grants, worth $10,000 each, for more organisations or individuals to start more With One Voice choirs.

Applicants need to be local communities, social businesses or not-for-profits willing to promote social inclusion. Program director Nathan Lange says these choirs are intended to help tackle "what is a growing epidemic in Australia of isolation and loneliness" along with depression and disadvantage in their community.

"People are becoming less connected; there are less opportunities to do so. So, we think bringing people together and singing provides a whole range of benefits that can't be done in any other way."

There are no auditions, no requirement to compete or perform publicly, no restrictions on what is sung. But, their membership is expected to be drawn from and embraces a wide cross-section of a community.

The seed funding supports the setting up a choir and a mentoring program. "We spend 12 months with the group to make sure the choir establishes itself in the community in a way that is sustainable," Nathan says. "We try to set groups up so that they can sustain the program over a period of time. We think a lot of the benefits of the group don't happen in just six to 12 months."

Applications for these grants are open until August 31, 2018 through www.creativityaustralia.org.au/start.

Creativity Australia was founded 10 years ago by soprano singer Tanya de Jong. Its primary aim is to create social community enterprises through singing. "Your social status or income level doesn't have an impact on your ability to sing," Nathan says. "It's a great leveller. People come to these programs as equals and sing as equals."

There are some 3000 Australians in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, ACT and South Australia, aged between nine and 90, who are members of a With One Voice choir. Seven new choirs have already been established this year as a result of these seed-funding grants.

If starting a choir isn't your interest, Nathan suggests you can join an existing one. The list of choirs is on the Creativity Australia website.

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