Our Community

Voices of Soundabout


“We first got involved with Soundabout right at the beginning of the first Lockdown. I was just looking back through the photos I took of each session and Lydia looks so happy and engaged in all of them!
Soundabout were there for us during unprecedented uncertain times. The Soundabout live sessions twice a week on a Tuesday and Saturday gave us a routine to our week and made us feel part of a community. Lydia was missing the stimulation of school but Soundabout helped fill that void. We hardly missed a session and all the family joined in. Soundabout has helped me to play with Lydia, it has given me ideas and confidence and lots of enjoyment too!
I think my favourite thing about Soundabout is feeling part of something and meeting other people in a similar situation. Covid meant a lot of time feeling very isolated but having Soundabout there gave you a feeling of belonging. This feeling has continued since times have become more normal.
Lydia is now 12. She was 10 when we first discovered Soundabout. She is classed as PMLD (profound and multiple learning difficulties), non verbal, full time wheelchair user and has epilepsy. She is a SWAN (syndrome without a name) as she is undiagnosed. She absolutely loves music, the louder the better, swings, lights and being out in the wind!” 
Smiling child with toys behind


“I joined soundabout at the first lockdown, it has given me a chance to showcase my talents. I love signing, I like to lead when it comes to signing.
Soundabout has changed my life and given me such incredible opportunities and experiences. When I’m part of Oxford choir it makes so happy and confident to be myself.”
Grace, Soundabout Inclusive Choir Member
Two women smiling at camera


“My name is Theo. I like singing and using sound makers at the Soundabout choirs. I like to see my friends at choir and hearing them sing. I was part of the Emerging Leaders and like meeting up with the other leaders. Sometimes I like to do performances at the choir and Fireman Sam is my favourite song to listen to.

Other things that I like are buses, especially Oxford Bus Company. My favourite thing is the sound and feel of the engine when we are driving. I also like trains and First Great Western are my favourite, I like the logos. At home I like digging in the garden, even in the rain.”
~ Theo, Emerging Leader Graduate
Man on left singing into microphone wearing red ear defenders. Woman on his right clapping. Both wearing blue Soundabout t-shirts.


“I joined Soundabout during the first lockdown when my mum saw Soundabout on the BBC News website. My work, my riding and my volunteering had all stopped and I was shielding at home. It was really nice to meet new people at the Soundabout Choir on Zoom. I love singing and to be involved in something that we shared together was great. At that time it was just the Oxford choir, and I live in Kent.
I was invited to be part of the Emerging Leaders group and I did that for a whole year. Emerging Leaders helped me to gain confidence in myself and develop my skills as a leader. I now take part in 4 choir sessions and lead some ‘warm ups’ and performances. I have been asked to help with signing too sometimes!
It is a privilege to also be asked to do some occasional work behind the scenes for Soundabout as well. Signing videos are one of my favourite things to get involved with!
Please come and join Soundabout because it is such fun and so inclusive! We make sure everyone that is a member can be heard and it easy for everyone to join in!”
~ Anna, Soundabout Inclusive Choir Member and Emerging Leader Graduate
Two women stood smiling at camera. Woman on left has her arm around the other woman.


“Archie started to regularly join in with Soundabout at the end of 2020. It was super special to have something new in our lives after a long lockdown year and to be with people virtually.
Soundabout means fun and friends for Archie. He looks forward to seeing familar faces online and gets very excited about singing with his fellow choir members at the face to face sessions (and finding out what everyone has been up to and are having for their tea).
He loves all the Soundabout videos. He often finds Soundabout Lives to watch on Youtube and is very proud of the videos he has made it onto. He loves showing them to his family and friends.
Soundabout is now a big part of our lives. We love it!”
Boy holding drum. Red curtains and stars in background.

Izzie and Theo

“We were told about Soundabout last year when Izzie had accessed another music charity and we were thinking about next steps. I initially worried about her not being able to attend an actual choir as she hates sitting still and her ‘singing’ is very mood dependant! She is registered blind and luckily her hearing has always been amazing; she really comes alive through music.
As the first sessions were online due to Covid, I knew we could come and go and always leave easily if she didn’t get on with it but she surprised me with her engagement and just loved all the songs and using her sound makers.
We’d also attend Facebook live sessions when we could as Izzie and her brother Theo, who also has special needs, got very excited when their ideas were mentioned in songs or they had a name shout out.
We have had such a wonderful time attending the face to face choir sessions now they’re running again. My son hates trying anything new but as I’d shown him videos of Izzie enjoying it, he agreed to come along and we couldn’t stop him dancing!”
Boy on left looking at girl on right. They are sat close to each other.


“I first joined Soundabout choir in September 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, and to be honest, it’s literally saved what could’ve been a very depressing time for me.

I was one of the founding members of the newly established Bristol choir (which would turn into the West of England choir). As I have been playing keyboard since I was 12, I am mainly in the choir as a musician. When we do choir, I’m usually called on to lead a jam session or accompany trial runs and even warmups.
At the start of this year, I was asked to be an accompanist for a new Soundabout choir in Gloucestershire (which is where I’m based most of the time) – and I immediately said yes. So, I am now a paid accompanist for both the West of England and Gloucestershire choirs at face-to-face rehearsals!!”
~ Ben, Soundabout Volunteer and Accompanist
Man playing keyboard with chimney hat (with santa legs sticking out).


“My name is Samuel and I am 14. I love playing and listening to music and joined soundabout during the lockdown. I’ve learnt some signs during zoom sessions but prefer to play my soundmakers.

I attend the Sandwell choir and enjoy going out and about with my mom or carers but it’s hard to find activities suitable. Soundabout helps me with my social skills, communication skills and makes both my mom and me feel included and part of an amazing group. “

Boy sat on a bean bag with ear defenders on playing a drum


“This is Ava. Ava is 14 years old and was born with a complex brain injury which meant that she went on to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy, affecting all limbs, severe uncontrolled epilepsy, she’s a full time wheelchair user, has scoliosis and is also non verbal and blind. Ava’s disabilities don’t define her though. She’s funny, cheeky, resilient and brave. She has an enviable ability to always live in the moment, never longing for what’s happening next, or grieving over what has passed. Ava has a killer smile and an infectious giggle and an unwavering obsession with all things musical.

Music has always been there throughout our journey with Ava. It somehow unlocks something in her, enabling her to communicate and express herself with ease and confidence and when the words don’t come, Ava can still be heard, as music gives her a voice and a platform to communicate and exchange in musical conversations.
We first joined the Soundabout family in April 2020, during the first COVID lockdown. We came across one of the Facebook live sessions and were immediately hooked. Ava had always spent long periods of time at home, lockdowns were not a new and unusual way of life for us, but usually these periods meant Ava became isolated from her friendship group, as she wasn’t well enough to attend school and this always had a profound impact on her mental health. I’d always struggled to find things to do, to stimulate her and keep her engaged and occupied, but I suddenly found myself staring at the provision Ava had waited her entire life for! I couldn’t believe how immediately welcomed she was. There was no application process, no form filling, no prolonged wait for a service, we were straight in and Ava was loving it! I think I started to look forward to these sessions just as much as Ava.
We were suddenly in this community of people who just understood our life and we very quickly felt like we knew these other children and parents, despite never even seeing their faces. It really helped us both to feel less isolated, something that any parent of a child with complex health needs can relate to. We spend so much time locked away at home, because our children aren’t well enough to access mainstream activities, that loneliness and isolation are all too common but these sessions made us feel seen and valued and supported.
We were super excited when we found additional sessions on youtube and the home school and after school clubs were like a dream come true! The therapists very quickly worked out what made Ava tick, long before any of them had actually even seen her. With the initial sessions all being on Facebook or YouTube, it took a huge amount of skill for the therapists to understand who she was and what she was capable of, but for us, with Ava being blind, this felt all the more magical.
They worked in her world and music was the spoken language that they both understood, as equals and for Ava it was all just so easy. They took her on so many magical adventures, far away from her world of isolation and pain, far away from the restrictions her disabilities put on her and we watched her grow and develop in confidence and her communication skills increased dramatically! Ava suddenly had access to music therapy, whenever she needed it, wherever she was and no matter what her state of health. All we needed was her iPad and we could access this first class educational provision, 7 days a week, via live sessions and their impressive catalogue of previously recorded sessions that we could play back any time.
Soundabout offered Ava a life changing service. Ava had never managed full time education, her complex health needs had always meant this was never attainable, but I never felt there was an alternative to option, I never believed I could manage homeschool as a long term option, but the quality of the online provision that Soundabout offered gave me the confidence to re-look at what education could look like for Ava and she now does a mixture of home school and traditional school placement, which offers her the best of both worlds and works so much better for her.
Soundabout has been a lifeline for us during hospital admissions. We’ve had several occasions, where we’ve been able to use Soundabout, to transform the atmosphere in the room. Hospitals are scary places for Ava. People are always waiting to do something painful or frightening and it’s an environment of complete sensory overload, which generally results in Ava shutting down, which in turn has a drastic effect on her clinical outcomes. Having Soundabout sessions to engage with, enables us to re-set Ava. They distract her from pain and the fear of procedures, they take her away to a safe place where the bad people don’t come and they make her feel like she has some control, in an environment where she’s rarely in control and rarely has a choice. That is a very powerful gift and one we are truly grateful for.
I now cannot imagine what our life would be like without our Soundabout family. The therapists are so invested in her, they celebrate all she is, encourage and nurture her and see her as we do. They see her for all the incredible things that she is and never stop pushing her to be the best that she can be. They’ve seen her at her absolute best and her absolute worst, which is an exceptionally unique relationship, that is unmatched by any statutory service and it’s this level of engagement, that’s made Soundabout so exceptional. They meet children where they’re at! No matter where we are, or what state of health Ava is in, they are there ready to work with her and no matter how poorly she is, the music always brings us back to us.”