A COMMUNITY choir group in Dorset has been shortlisted for a national award following the innovative way their choirs, for people affected by cancer, have continued through the pandemic.

Rising Voices Wessex have been nominated as one of the 31 groups and projects for the People's Choice Award at this year's Creative Lives Awards, formerly known as the Epic Awards.

The pandemic has meant significant change for Rising Voices Wessex’s choirs as they have had to develop new ways to communicate and support their members.

Noeline Young, a trustee of Rising Voices Wessex, said: “From the start of the pandemic, we had to make Zoom work for us, which meant purchasing some new sound equipment and helping our members to understand how to use Zoom.

“We also recognised that keeping in contact by emails and Facebook was not enough, so we set up a WhatsApp group which has enabled people to chat and support each other.

“This has proved especially important for those who live alone and, in addition, we also set up a ‘Phone Friends’ group with members of our Steering Group each taking a list of members to keep in regular contact with.”

Online quiz nights and parties were also held regularly to help people stay connected.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: Rising Voices Wessex held their annual Big Sing at Bournemouth School for Girl

Thanks to their new equipment, the choir group were also able to hold and record a Christmas and spring concert

The live broadcasts were then edited by volunteers to create videos which were uploaded to YouTube for the general public to enjoy.

Voting is still open for the awards and will close on January 31, 2022.

On November 29, trustees from Rising Voices Wessex will join others on the shortlist for the Peer Award of Excellence and in late January the winners of the national awards will be announced.

To find out more, visit https://www.creativelives.org/pages/category/2021-shortlist.