Keyworker turns isolation into community sing-along

When nurse Angela Collis was forced to self-isolate away from the hospital where she works, it didn't stop her caring for her community.

Angela is an auxiliary nurse with North Hampshire Hospitals Trust, but as an asthma sufferer - and classed as 'Cat 2 vulnerable - she was forced to self-isolate at home.

She lives at Harveys Field, Overton, an older people's scheme for over 55's run by Sovereign Housing Association - one of five Sovereign provide in Basingstoke.

Having lived there for two years Angela knew just how much the residents loved their weekly Wednesday coffee mornings - and how disappointed they were when Copvid-19 and social distancing meant they had to be cancelled.

Angela decided she would try and keep the community together - and now coffee mornings have been replaced by weekly singalongs.

Angela said: “I felt very sad that they were no longer able to see each other. It got me thinking, what could I do safely to help others while observing social distancing, so I thought what if I sing to them from a distance on a Thursday evening. 

“Residents’ turn out on their doorsteps every Thursday to clap for the NHS so an hour beforehand I sing to the residents.”

With her speakers and microphone in tow, Angela sings from her garden every Thursday evening between 7-8pm, and weather permitting residents join her from their gardens and balconies with their deck chairs to listen and sing together, all the while keeping a safe distance.

Angela added: "I sang with a band, ‘The Foundations’ for several years so I thought I could use my singing to spread a little bit of fun. I think everyone really likes it and joins in."

One resident, 94-year old Marjorie Dickerson, who listens from her flat every week, really looks forward to the weekly singalong.

Marjorie, who has lived at Harveys Field since 1996, said: “It brings back lovely memories. I requested a song which reminded me of my late husband, from when our grandson chose ‘Sweet Caroline’ for his Grandad at a family party.”

This week’s sing-along will be a little different as residents will wear 40’s style outfits or something red, white and blue and join in with war time favourites like ‘We’ll meet again’ as part of their VE Day celebrations on Friday afternoon. 

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Harveys Field is one of five housing for older people schemes in Basingstoke managed by Sovereign. The scheme for the over 55’s consists of 24 one and two bedroom flats where residents enjoy independent living.