Scaling The Heights

Singclude Breaks Down Barriers For Disabled Singers

Sheffield, 13 January 2012

On Wednesday 25 January, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus will open up exciting new possibilities for mobility impaired singers, when BBC Radio 4’s Disability Affairs Correspondent Peter White launches its SINGCLUDE PROJECT. Funded by Big Lottery Awards for All, Singclude is centred around the use of a portable electric stair-climber to enable singers with severe mobility impairments to access the, often temporary, seating areas provided for choirs.

Singclude has been a collaboration between the Chorus and Sheffield International Venues Ltd., who are kindly making the City Hall Memorial Hall available for the launch.  Richard Hunter, General Manager of Sheffield’s City Hall said: “We were very happy to help provide access to the Chorus’s performance area for a member who needs to use a wheelchair. Singclude provided the solution and we are delighted that one of SIV’s venues is, so far as we know, the first in the UK to employ a stair-climber for this purpose”.

Chorus Chairman Julie Smethurst said: “It is increasingly well-known that singing is good for you, and singing as part of a choir is even better!  Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus aims to be as inclusive and accessible as possible, and our ground-breaking Singclude project takes this to a new level as it opens up choral singing at the highest possible standard to a, so far, very under-represented group of people”. Julie added: “We do hope this initiative may inspire others to offer singing opportunities to people with significant mobility impairments thus allowing them to partake of the massive wellbeing benefits of choral singing.  Locally we also hope to be able to share our stair-climber with other musical organisations whose members might be able to benefit from using it”.

The Chorus is leading the Cultural Olympiad Alight festival on 3 March in the city and would love to see the stair-climber used to ensure that singing colleagues with mobility issues are able to fulfil their dreams of performing at the city’s most prestigious concert venue.  As Julie adds “In the spirit of this special 2012 year, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus are proud to be able to help local people and we’d love any singers with mobility issues who wish to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get in touch, and we’ll do our very best to help ensure inclusivity for all.”

Full details on the Chorus and their Singclude project can be found on the Singclude page. Tickets for the Alightfestival shows are available from the City Hall on 2789789 or via the web at  Contact Rachel Mallaband at 

Singclude leaflet
Peter White biography