The Include Choir | Include.org

The Run Reigate Journey

On 27 July some of The Include Choir went along to the Run Reigate Run Club in Priory Park – led by Jas Dhanda from Reigate Priory Athletic Club.

While the runners were put through their paces, we sang and signed some running themed songs like Don’t Stop me Now.

Seeing the runners prepare mentally as well as physically took me back to my 2019 Run Reigate journey. It was before the world-changing events of Covid19, but after some fairly significant events in my own life.

It was the first time I had run more than a few kilometres since breaking my back and neck.

In 2010 I fractured my spine in 7 places, and broke my shoulder, hip and hand when somebody opened their car door into the road as I was approaching on my motorbike.

Thanks to a good quality bike helmet I was incredibly lucky to avoid a brain injury.

When I think how close I came to experiencing the sorts of understanding or speaking difficulties that Include.org tries to tackle, I get a shiver down my (now mended) spine.

I spent 3 months in a rigid brace and it was another 6 months before I could return to work.

If someone had told me then that I would complete Run Reigate’s 10k run, I would have thought they were joking!

I felt so lucky to be able to take part.

At Parallel London in 2017 one of our members David not only performed with The Include Choir, singing and playing the drum – he also got the team’s fastest time at the event’s sensory 1k.

David has a visual impairment – but this didn’t affect his speed! This event, held at the Olympic Park in London, was a real memory maker for David and many of the rest of us.

Memories made for all the right reasons – feeling involved and able to shine.

We’re going to talk more with the Run Reigate organisers to look into the idea of a fully accessible sensory race in the future.

It’s not that everyone wants to aim for the longest distance, or the fastest time that makes events like Run Reigate or Parallel London truly bonding for the community. It’s creating a space for all the personal magic moments that happen along the way.

Sometimes these moments begin months before the day itself…

…The encouraging chat with a friend to enter, the training partner who meets for a morning run in the rain, facing a personal fear or anxiety, overcoming an injury, generous donations to a cause you care about, a way of remembering or honouring someone dear, being boosted by a cheer from the crowds, being offered a jelly baby by a random resident of one of the streets.

On the evening of the Run Reigate Run Club, a magic moment for me was when choir members Hannah and Lynette led the choir, while I turned around to include the runners in “Don’t Stop Me Now”.

In turn, the runners themselves joined in with enthusiasm, even after their gruelling training session!

On Sunday 18th September Include.org will help to create some magic moments at Run Reigate.

We have a stall in the event village, our inclusive choir will perform and we’ll raise awareness of inclusivity. Thank you to everyone who is already onboard.

If you are local, but not involved yet, could you help or just come and support us? Please let us know.

We can offer reduced fee places to runners who would like to raise money for our charity, and we’re hugely grateful for all fundraising efforts.

Find out more here .

Penny Sims
Penny Sims
Inclusive Communications Manager

Something about The Include Choir

We have exciting developments here at Include.

This summer, very soon, we are launching a new choir!

We continue to build the original Include Choir (with rehearsals in Redhill), The Include Choir Online is still here too so people can join us on Zoom or Facebook live. If outdoors activity is more your thing, you can join our Stroll and Sign sessions…but right now we’re busy adding a new Include Choir group, which will rehearse in Epsom.

Both choirs will perform at community events and conferences in various locations across Surrey – and in other places like London. Not just in Redhill and Epsom.

You can find details of what is on and when on our website.

Easy Read – explaining about The Include Choir

As we start to introduce a whole new group of people to The Include Choir, we’ve been thinking about how we explain who we are and what we do to people who don’t know Include.org

To help with this, the Include Champions Group took a really close look at how we talk and write about Include. Even to the point of discussing if we use a capital G on the word group when we say Champion’s Group!

We double checked which of the accessible fonts is the most popular and we decided on Sofia Pro, because we like it and it is Dyslexia-friendly.

We also took great care to select the best photos and graphics to enhance our next FREE Easy Read which – you guessed it – is all about The Include Choir! An audio version is also available on soundcloud.

The things that make a big difference

Some people might think we’re “just a choir” – BUT a lot more goes into championing inclusive communication than just getting together to sing.

The little details that enhance inclusion and participation matter as much as the big steps forward – like launching a new choir. And without volunteers, none of this can happen – the big or the small.

We want to once again congratulate and thank our amazing volunteers who have been recognised as some of the very best with the MBE for volunteer groups – the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service!

If you would like to join or volunteer or have any questions or suggestions about the new choir or anything else, please let us know by commenting below, via our social media or emailing info@include.org

Penny Sims
Penny Sims
Inclusive Communications Manager
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