Sunderland Pop Choir Project to expand into South Shields after funding boost

Fausto Pop Choir. Picture by Bec Hughes
Fausto Pop Choir. Picture by Bec Hughes

A Sunderland Pop Choir is hitting the high note and expanding into South Tyneside after receiving a funding boose from the National Lottery.

The £9,000 funding for Pop Choir Project, which is run by Sunderland-based arts organisation We Make Culture CIC, will help it to continue at its bases in Fausto Coffee in Roker and Washington Mind in Washington.

The organisation will also begin a new Pop Choir from mid-September from new cultural and community centre, St Hilda’s Pit Head, in South Shields.

Laura Brewis, director and project manager of We Make Culture CIC, said: “We are very grateful to National Lottery Awards for All for this grant. We Make Culture CIC is a very new organisation and we see this as a huge vote of confidence in the work we’ve done so far with Pop Choir Project, which

is really about bringing people together, building confidence and encouraging people who might not have ever participated in anything musical for years to have a go.

“There’s a lot of research into how beneficial singing in groups is for wellbeing and mental health, and we’ve certainly seen that in both our Washington and Sunderland choirs. Singing pop songs together is also just really fun.

“It’s also thanks to the faith shown in We Make Culture CIC by the funders and partners who have supported us so far, such as Cultural Spring, Washington Mind, Fausto Coffee and Sunderland City Council’s Washington Area group. We’re excited to be moving the project forward and to be working

with an exciting new arts and heritage venue, St Hilda’s Pit Head, to bring Pop Choir Project to South Shields.”

Pop Choir Project began in September 2017 at Fausto Coffee, and is now a group of choirs which meet weekly in Sunderland, Washington and soon South Shields to sing pop songs and have fun.

The choirs are led by professional musicians Jennie Brewis, Cath Stephens and Liz Corney (all members of the band The Cornshed Sisters), who lead the groups in a welcoming and accessible way.

Pop Choir Project has performed on BBC radio, at the Empire Theatre and at the recent Tall Ships events, as well as in local community settings.

Pop Choir Project will be at the St Hilda’s Pit Head Family Open Day on August 23, where the choir will be doing a small performance and leading a participatory workshop for anyone who might like to give singing a go.

•For more information on any of the groups contact laura@wemakeculture.co.uk or search Pop Choir Project on Facebook.