November, 2021 | Include.org

Friends United

Philip and Simon have done quite a few things together over the years.

“We met at a college where we were supported to learn independence, shopping, cooking and budgeting.” They still live together today…

They are based a long way from Include’s HQ in Surrey…but have become a big part of the Include family. In fact, they’ve inspired a plan to combine Zoom sessions with Live sessions.

Included since Lockdown

Philip says; “Without Include the last year would have been boring – we love the whole group since we joined in lockdown….

We join in on my ipad through Zoom and Facebook two or three times a week. I even joined two of the Friday sessions from my Dad’s car when I was on my way home for the weekend! When we see Alix, it always makes me smile.”

Simon agrees; “We love singing and seeing everyone…my favourite is the Bumble Bee song – it makes me happy, and seeing Alix’s cat! We’d be sad without Include.”

In My World

Philip’s favourite song is In My World, which was written by choir member Louise.

“I sang In My World at my Nan’s big family 90th Birthday party – everyone came and when I sang my Nan cried happy tears,” says Philip.

Silver Linings

Alix Lewer, Include CEO adds; “Philip and Simon (among others) joining The Include Choir Online has been one of the great silver linings of the pandemic.

I can’t now imagine Facebook Live sessions without their supportive and positive input in the chat (and of course – the requests for the Chicken Curry Warm Up, In My World & Dancing Queen).

The Zoom sessions would not be the same without their enthusiasm, excellent signing and huge smiles (they really do put the smile in our Sing Sign and Smile Sessions).

And they have even recently joined our Include Champions Group – helping us learn about people’s rights under the Mental Capacity Act and review and develop training materials. They are always both excellent listeners as well as contributing greatly to the discussions, with much insight and sensitivity. 

Remote members like Philip and Simon bring so much to Include and are one of the reasons that we are determined to keep offering both local and online services, so we can continue to include and connect people far and wide.” 

Penny Sims
Penny Sims
Inclusive Communications Manager

Trustee of the Year and Volunteer Team of the Year Award

2019 Trustee of the Year and Volunteer Team of the Year Award: the Mayor of Reigate and Banstead presented Treasurer Nigel Leach and three generational volunteer team, Mia, Nic and Jane with Awards recognising the huge contribution they make to Include.org

Could you be a Trustee for Include.org? Find out what you could gain:

https://include.org/about-include/

Tatiana Woznicki

2021 Young Volunteer of the Year Award

In 2021, The Mayor of Reigate and Banstead presented Sofia Yermo-Moore with this award, for outstanding support before and during the pandemic. Having volunteered with us since the age of 14, she knows the organisation (almost) better than anyone and is joining us as a young Trustee.

Find out more about Sofia and why she has chosen to dedicate so much time and support to Include in her blog – Award-winning volunteer – Sofia | Include.org.

Tatiana Woznicki

Sai’s Story

Tatiana Woznicki

2021 – Finalists- National Learning Disability and Autism Awards: Breaking Down Barriers


The National Learning Disabilities Awards celebrate excellence in the support for people with learning disabilities.  The Breaking Down Barriers Award celebrates organisations who have worked to make sure people get clear information and are able to contribute their videos and experiences

Tatiana Woznicki

RCSLT Giving Voice Award

2019 – Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists: Giving Voice Award – for tireless commitment to supporting people with communication needs and raising awareness of inclusive communication 

Tatiana Woznicki

Shared Lives – Singing and Signing together

Mandy and Michelle are members of The Include Choir.

Mandy is Michelle’s Shared Lives carer. The Shared Lives scheme matches adults who need care with someone who can provide support. Family and community life are a shared experience for both.

Michelle and Mandy joined The Include Choir over two years ago. Before the pandemic.

Mandy says, “When we could return to choir in person earlier this year, I was unsure about how Michelle would react.

I told her just before we were to leave. She leapt from her seat shouting “choir!” She then sang the Include Choir welcome song at the top of her voice before rushing to get her coat and shoes.

She was beyond happy to return and so pleased to see everyone.

She loves to perform and being part of include provides her with a safe, friendly space to do this.

The use of inclusive communication, structure and positivity make include choir a place she can make sense of which in turn gives her confidence and comfort. 

Include has really helped Michelle and myself to remember to use our Makaton and props to communicate with each other. It has given her such a great outlet to perform and feel successful.

The structure of sessions and inclusive communication has definitely improved her listening skills too. 

Small charities like Include.org are the heart of the disabled community. They provide a positive, happy, inclusive place for people to be.

The work that Include does to promote rights, understanding and inclusion is something that is amazing to be a part of.

To see people’s smiles when they see the choir perform is so moving and making people with disabilities visible in such a positive and empowering way is just what society needs. “

Penny Sims
Penny Sims
Inclusive Communications Manager

Welcome to our World

For World Kindness Day 2021 (13th November) we’re doing 5 things!

1)   Thanking our amazingly kind volunteers and supporters.

2)  Giving away a FREE Easy Read resource that explains how to be a Kind (Inclusive) Communicator:

3)   Showcasing The Include Choir’s special song In My World, and telling the touching story behind it (below).

4)   Streaming songs with messages about Kind Communication at #KindFest2021 – the world’s largest online festival of kindness.

5)   Sharing the first of Include’s organisational values – decided through coproduction workshops earlier this year… Can you guess what it is?!

In My World…

From the depths of lockdown came a beautifully unifying and uplifting song. It will be showcased at KindFest2021 on World Kindness Day.

We spoke to the three main creators…

“I actually love the song. It makes me feel good and calm. I like singing it and it’s good when the choir sing it,” says Louise.

“My Mum taught me how to play piano and at college I had singing and piano lessons. I have done (Makaton) signing all my lifetime since nursery and school – it helped me lots with learning and communication”.

All of these skills come together when Louise helps The Include Choir.

The inspiration for her song started when the Makaton sign of the week word was Colours. At this time, Include was delivering many services online (not just singing) and offering self-care tips to help people feel okay during lockdown. Louise shared her top tip, which was that coloring helps her to calm. And she has a special book called Keep Calm and Color Unicorns!

But Louise’s all-time favorite phenomenon is the rainbow.

And this is at the heart of the song. She says; “I love colours – they make me feel good – all except black and grey – even though I’m wearing a black T-shirt today! Ha!”

Sue, Include’s resident accompanist (and Louise’s Mum) helped write the song and compose the music.

Sue says; “I asked Louise to think of beautiful things to do with colour. Her input is there throughout; sunsets over a calming sea and the hazy blue of the sky.”

Sue credits her then fiancé, (now husband) Paul, with one of the lyrics “the blushing pink of the roses” because he bought and named a rose for her “The blushing pink”. But says Sue; “Without Louise, there would probably be no song – she is the true inspiration.”

Sue is keen to point out that the song can still feel relevant to people with visual impairments “that’s what colour mean to me” can refer to how people imagine colour.

A stunning animated video featuring The Include Choir and many members of the community singing and signing the song was created by fabulous volunteer Xinning.

“I was living with my boyfriend in a flat in Manchester when I joined this project. Because of the lockdown, we spent all day in the living room working together. But I didn’t meet anyone or make any friends during the lockdown.

I sense the message from the song is that no matter how many difficulties we are facing, always remember to find the existence of beautiful things in our world. I really enjoy the song because gives me the power to get over a hard time and find people who are caring for each other.

I use the simplest way of making animation, which is to draw frame by frame on a computer I believe this is the strongest way to express emotion. I choose to use simple shapes to animate. It is concise and lets people easily understand the meaning which the song wants to convey.

Louise suggested a great idea which was to add butterflies in the animation. She also provided illustrations of butterflies from members of the choir.

I animated it in a rigging animation software.

It makes the video lively.

It feels great to hear people’s feedback on my animation. Sometimes I feel doubtful of my animation but once people told me that my animation is good, I feel everything is worth doing.”

In My World highlights the benefits of being willing to join other people “in their world”. That’s what we mean by Inclusive or Kind Communication. Being willing to adjust ourselves in order to properly connect with someone else.

Penny Sims
Penny Sims
Inclusive Communications Manager
Skip to content