Singers from Hackney showcased their sensational talents recently during the first assessment of the inspirational Sanctuary in Music project.
The project, funded by leading UK housing provider Sanctuary Group, is giving people from Hackney the opportunity to develop their singing talents and improve self-esteem over a series of 26 sessions, led by Sanctuary resident Johnny Pat.
As well as bringing residents from the region together, the project is helping equip them with skills which will allow them to take control of their futures and lead them into possible employment within the entertainments industry.
Residents from Hackney have been taking part in the project since February and last week’s event, held at the Morningside Community Hall, was the first assessment for the ten students.
Each resident performed two songs of their choice before a panel of independent judges who graded them on their content, ability and appearance.
Resident Andrea Francis said: "This course is the best thing that has happened for the residents in Hackney and gives people a real purpose and something to look forward to in life.”
Sanctuary’s project is proving to be a success nationwide – with further courses taking place in other parts of the country.
Sanctuary resident Johnny, 67, has plied his trade as front man for Johnny Pat and the Aces for the past 50 years and is passionate about getting residents up on stage.
His work on the project and positive impact it has achieved has been recognised nationally; Johnny has been shortlisted for a number of awards in 2009 including Inside Housing’s Inspirational Tenant of the Year accolade and UK Housing’s Inspirational Colleague award.
The Sanctuary in Music Project was also shortlisted for the National Housing Federation’s ‘What we are proud of’ award – Yorkshire and Humberside region, which celebrates housing association run-projects that have improved the lives of people in their community.