Christmas cheer and goodwill were plentiful at Ealing Choral Society’s carol concert on Saturday 16 December at St Barnabas Church. The sell-out event was enjoyed by a 350 strong audience and raised a massive £9,500 for Ealing-based charity Volunteer Link Scheme.
The Volunteer Link Scheme exists to support some of the most isolated people in the Ealing borough. Those who live alone, have no regular visitors, and do not go out. The charity recruits and trains volunteers who provide weekly visits to those who would otherwise see nobody.
It relies entirely on grants from charitable trusts and voluntary donations. The charity receives referrals from Social Workers, GP’s, Housing Officers, and other professionals for adults who are feeling lonely and isolated. Each week, more people are referred to have a volunteer, and the Scheme are working hard to recruit more volunteers to be able to support them. Rachel Hill says “We are proud to be able to support clients right from the start. Once they are referred to us, we visit them within two weeks and then provide regular telephone support until we have found a suitable volunteer for them. As well as this, our support is long-term. We will continue visiting someone as long as they still need it, which is often until the end of their life’”
In the presence of the mayor of Ealing, Councillor Simon Woodroofe, the choir, one of London’s best, conducted by Jonathan Williams, beautifully performed a variety of festive pieces. BBC Journalist and Broadcaster John Sergeant, Christopher Wickenden of Haven Funeral Services (sponsor of the concert programme), Steve Pound MP for Ealing North and Volunteer Link representatives were among those giving seasonal readings, and all present lent their voices to well loved carols.
The evening’s mince pies were generously sponsored by Marks and Spencer.
Rachel Hill, Director at Volunteer Link, said: “I am so grateful to the Ealing Choral Society for choosing to support us through their annual concert. It was a wonderful festive evening with beautiful singing and so many generous people who donated towards the work we do. The money raised will help us to recruit and train more volunteers and enable us to continue to tackle loneliness in Ealing.”
Sue Clark, Chairman of Ealing Choral Society, said: “It was a fabulous evening and our sincere thanks go to the many people who came along to support the event and responded so generously. The choir is delighted to support Volunteer Link Scheme and what better way than to get everyone in the Christmas mood by doing what we love - singing!”
Photo1 : Left to Right: Sue Clark (ECS Chairman), Alec Atchison (Volunteer Link Scheme), Rachel Hill (Volunteer Link Scheme), Maggie Pound, Councillor Simon Woodroofe (Ealing Mayor), Mrs Valerie Woodroofe (Mayor’s Consort), Chris Wickenden (Owner of Haven Funeral Services and Concert Programme Sponsor), Steve Pound MP (MP for Ealing North and ECS Associate), Reverend Justin Dodd (Vicar St Barnabas), Dr Jonathan Williams (ECS Conductor), John Sergeant (Broadcaster & Journalist)