Choir for those with special needs joins Christmas campaign to double donations

A choir that aims to help people with special needs tackle loneliness has called for support for a campaign that will double its charitable donations ahead of the Christmas period.

The Include Choir helps those with difficulty communicating and is part of the wider Include Project, one of over 900 charities that will benefit from the Big Give’s Christmas challenge, which will match any donations made between November 30 and December 7.

Geoffrey Dennis, the charity’s head of development, told the PA news agency: “We help people that have got dementia, autism, other brain problems, and so on, we help all age groups.

“A lot of these people are extremely lonely, they’re isolated and they basically don’t have a great deal of their own personal life.

“The idea is to meet with people and just to empower them.”

The choir meets both face-to-face in locations across Surrey and online, and regularly welcomes between 70 and 80 attendees.

They use Makaton signing during their singing, a form of language that utilises symbols and signs to aid communication.

The Include Project also trains social service and health care staff how to communicate with those with special needs.

The Big Give is a crowdfunding platform for charities specialising in match funding and has been backed by celebrities including Stephen Fry, Dame Judi Dench and Russell Brand.

“It’s extremely important to us…anybody that donates anything will get doubled. It’s just fantastic,” Mr Dennis said.

Last year, the Big Give campaign raised £20.1 million for 764 charities, with the matched donations provided by a range of philanthropic organisations.

Research carried out by the Big Give has found that 16% of people in the UK say they are considering using a food bank over Christmas, with the number rising to 37% in London.

Alex Day, director of the Big Give, said: “Our study shows that, sadly, people across Great Britain and Northern Ireland are facing an imperfect storm: high fuel prices, chronic mental health problems, rising debt, loneliness and fears about Covid-19 will mean that, for many, this festive period will be a far cry from picture perfect scenes portrayed on Christmas cards.

“Some will rely on charities which will be further and further stretched as demand grows.

“That is why, for those who can, supporting charities is more important than ever. Through The Christmas Challenge campaign, we are offering to match any donation made to hundreds of amazing charities through

“That means whatever you can give will go twice as far.”

To donate to the cause, go to:

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