A new singing group for mums has started in Wandsworth, with a bursary fund in place for those wanting to participate.
Zoie Kennedy, 40, from Balham, runs two successful Singing Mamas groups in Streatham and Herne Hill and wants to continue growing the scheme.
Ms Kennedy decided to start the bursary fund after seeing the results from a singing session with Freedom Together, a Croydon charity for victims of domestic abuse.
She said: “I was seeing women who had lost their faith in their own voice being given their voices back, and along with them a realisation of their self-worth.
“There were women who may not have been comfortable even offering their names aloud to the group at the start, who by the end were singing beautiful songs in harmony and being shocked and energised by the power of their collective voice.”
The bursary fund, which is using the concept of donating £3 to ‘buy someone a coffee’, pays for a term of sessions for mums who have been a victim of domestic violence, are suffering from post-natal depression or are in need in some other way.
Ms Kennedy believes that singing groups can really help, citing a 2018 study in The British Journal of Psychiatry that found that there was a significant improvement for women with moderate-to-severe post-natal depression after ten weeks of singing workshops.
Jane Dutton from Herne Hill Singing Mamas said: “Singing Mamas is food for the soul. It makes me feel sane again if I’ve had a bad night with my baby or just generally feel a bit low.”
Another member, Rew Williams, said: “I felt completely outside my comfort zone on our first class as I am not musical at all and can’t really sing, but the energy from us all singing together was so special and magical.”
Ms Kennedy explained that whilst the mothers usually bring their children to sessions, who also enjoy the songs, Singing Mamas provides a space for mothers to do something for themselves, when usually all activities are for the children.
Bridget Virgo, also from Herne Hill Singing Mamas, said: “Singing Mamas choir has allowed me me to rediscover my love of singing in harmony, to feel like me again and do something or myself, whilst being able to bring my son along as well.”
Claire Bennet from the same group said: “Singing Mamas gave me the confidence to sing for the first time since I was deselected from the school choir aged nine. Now I sing with abandon every day.
“As an older mum, I often feel on the periphery of other Mums and Babies groups, this was a weekly gathering with a tribe I felt I belonged to.”
The new Wandsworth Singing Mamas group takes place on Monday mornings at the Choir Vestry, St Barnabas’, Clapham Common Northside
The sessions comprise of an hour and a half of singing and then half an hour of tea and cake.
Ms Kennedy urges anyone who think they may enjoy Singing Mamas to contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
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