Lyttle welcomes launch of community choir

East Belfast MLA Chris Lyttle has welcomed the formation of a community choir in his constituency, designed to help those affected by the Troubles.

The East Belfast Victims and Survivors Christmas Choir will showcase the progress made over the past few months by the East Belfast Community Counselling Centre (EBCCC), which works with those throughout the area.

The choir will be launched in a special event in Stormont at 7pm tomorrow (Wednesday), which is being hosted by Alliance MLA Mr Lyttle. He said it would help several aspects of the local community.

“The choir was originally formed as part of the Public Health Agency’s ‘Take Five’ strategy, which promotes emotional wellbeing. It will certainly do that, as it will help reduce social isolation, help people discover unknown talent and give members a sense of achievement.

“I am delighted to support the East Belfast Victims and Survivors Christmas Choir and wish them every success as they bring joy to us all over the festive period.”

Irene Blanchard, EBCCC’s Development Manager and Victims and Survivors Services Co-ordinator, said the choir was a unique move from the organisation.

“Surveys show singing is an excellent way to boost the levels of serotonin in the human body, which is known as the happy hormone. I can honestly say that is true, from witnessing people arrive at the choir and the change in mood when leaving the choir.

“A lot of people who have been suffering when initially coming into service felt that no-one understood how they felt, often repressing memories and feelings for a number of years. But coming together to sing has reduced social isolation and gave everyone a common goal. Friendships have been formed and for some something as simple as singing has transformed their thinking.”

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