Caroline Rawlins joined our Fellowship team in 2017 to lead our Help for Heroes Choir. Having grown up in a military family and a member herself of the Military Wives’ Choir, Caroline understands first hand why singing plays such an important part in the recovery journeys of many of our veterans.
“The Help for Heroes Choir is a community of like-minded people, a safe place full of understanding, support and most importantly, friendship. It helps those who join to gain confidence, improve their self-esteem, feel part of a team again and get back out there to live fulfilling lives once more,” she says.
Pre-pandemic, our 50-strong choir met regularly for rehearsals. Now they’re still getting together to sing with the help of modern technology.
“Our members now rehearse in small groups online every week. Then once a month we have a ‘mass’ rehearsal where we all sing together. We have weekly online socials, quizzes and talks too,” says Caroline.
The winter months – and the run up to Christmas especially - can be a difficult time for many of our wounded heroes with issues such as isolation, low mood and anxiety all heightened, and this year’s pandemic has made things even tougher for many of those we support.
“Christmas can be challenging for those with no family or difficult personal circumstances, and some veterans are unable to get out and about due to the darker nights,” explains Caroline.
“The choir rehearsals lift spirits, improve wellbeing and leave members feeling energised. Many even say they sleep better after rehearsals because of the breathing exercises we do,” she adds.
Caroline is hopeful that the choir will, at some point, be able to meet face-to-face once again. Until then, there’s one thing she is certain of. “Our members really support each other and are there to celebrate the good times and help each other through the bad times, together,” she explains.
“This camaraderie will continue to be so important as our veterans adapt to post-pandemic life, and any new challenges this may bring for them.”
Together, we can keep our promise to be here for wounded veterans and their families