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Relate choir backed to hit the high notes by Gareth Malone

Cambridge Relate from left Jill Farrance, Elaine Taylor, Claire Godward, Kate Hennessy and Isabell Page . Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Relate from left Jill Farrance, Elaine Taylor, Claire Godward, Kate Hennessy and Isabell Page . Picture: Keith Heppell

A Cambridge Relate counsellor is giving couples a voice in more ?ways than one after setting up a choir which she hopes will give them TV coverage.

Elaine Taylor, of Relate Cambridge, hopes the new choir, called Relatively Composed, will do for relationships what Jamie Oliver’s campaign did for school dinners a few years ago.

The choir gave its first public performance last week, aided by a good luck message from choirmaster Gareth Malone, presenter of BBC Two’s The Choir.

Elaine told the Cambridge Independent: “My big project has been the choir – called Relatively Composed. We chose the name because we wanted ‘R and C’ for Relate Cambridge. It was our first performance on Thursday night (September 28) and it was brilliant; we got a standing ovation.

“It is based on Gareth Malone’s idea that singing makes people feel better. It is about making a difference to people’s lives, which is what we do at Relate Cambridge and what Gareth has done with the Military Wives choir, so there is a big connection there.

“He is coming to perform in Cambridge and I think we are going to pursue him if he does not drop in!

“He left us a lovely personalised good luck message for the choir. It is not about being technically perfect but it is about giving it your all.

“We had a lot of interest on the first night – it was very inspirational.

“We have only got one song at the moment, (Something Inside) So Strong by Labi Siffre.

“The words to that song are very appropriate. We are just starting out but there is a chance we may merge with other choirs from organisations we work with.

“We are unique because we have this direct link with Gareth Malone. A few years ago Jamie Oliver did a school dinners campaign, well that’s what I want to do for relationships.

“We will be on national TV if I can engineer it – this is the first step on an incredible journey.”

But it is not all about singing. In the last year Relate Cambridge has rolled out a raft of new projects including counselling for sex addiction, providing couples with improved parenting skills and helping employees with work.

Ms Taylor, who has been at Relate for 23 years, added: “We have introduced some new services this year and the most exciting one is Relate 4 Parents, where we offer support for the parents, which is basically upskilling them. It is delivered from the child’s perspective by our counsellors. This helps the parents get skills to help them cope with their children better.

“It’s all about skills and not counselling. There is also a real issue with sex addiction linked to online porn and our support for this has really taken off.

“We also help employees with their relationships as well. This scheme is backed by the county council. We have 17 outposts dotted around Cambridgeshire, and it is solution-focused therapy.”

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