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Choir Create Singing Teddy Bear To Support Sick Children Through The Pandemic

Noah Bear was imagined and created by Joanna Harrison for Ex Cathedra Singing Medicine.

Choir Create Singing Teddy Bear To Support Sick Children Through The Pandemic

Ex Cathedra's Singing Medicine team have created and launched a limited-edition singing teddy bear to raise vital funds for their work supporting the health and wellbeing of ill children.

The bear, named Noah because of its meaning rest and comfort, plays the team's signature song 'Music Inside' when the jacket button is pressed. The bear itself will provide comfort to children and encourage them to sing and play. Sales of the bear will generate funds to continue to action and expand on the work of Singing Medicine.

For 16 years the choir have visited Birmingham Children's Hospital on a weekly basis to sing with patients, helping combat feelings of isolation, as well as supporting the improvement of patient's mental health and wellbeing. The current pandemic has placed restrictions on hospital visits and the team have had to implement a new innovative digital approach to keep their much needed support in place.

Noah Bear and Singing Medicine's new digital approach allows the team to keep engaging with children in Birmingham Children's Hospital as well as increasing the reach of their work beyond the West Midlands. Across the country children can sing and play with Noah Bear engaging in the 'Noah Bear' series of interactive short films and lullabies.

As well as the creation of Noah Bear during the pandemic the team have taken their work online. In an extraordinary piece of timing, prior to the coronavirus pandemic Ex Cathedra's Singing Medicine were working with Birmingham Children's Hospital Chaplaincy team, to create the first hospital-wide children and young people's virtual patient choir, called the Lifting Spirits Choir. Their first film 'Music Inside' was released at the beginning of June 2020.

Furthering their online work the team has now also created 130 interactive singing-play films, free to access on YouTube. Singing Medicine Vocal Tutors live-stream on Facebook every Friday from their homes and on request the team will create bespoke 'Singing Postcards' for individual children in hospital who cannot at this time have visitors and are more isolated than ever before.

Rebecca Ledgard, Ex Cathedra's Director of Education said: "The ongoing pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty in our lives and has triggered a lot of change. One thing that hasn't changed is the need to support Children through difficult times. Participating in Singing Medicine provides health, wellbeing and emotional benefits for children, their families and the NHS professionals working in the hospital. It contributes to children's learning and development, family relationships and experiences of their hospital stay. It also provides a distraction from pain and discomfort, and provides positive memories for families if the worst happens and children do not recover. The launch of Noah Bear allows us to continue to provide vital support to sick children remotely and raise the funds to keep all our projects accessible across the country."

Ex Cathedra's singing-play repertoire is written by its own team for specific wellbeing and play purposes, and to enable all children and young people, whatever their capabilities, illness, situation, language, background, and needs, to play. Enabling decision-making and children being at the centre of the play are key aspects of the repertoire and sessions.

A range of products inspired by 'Noah Bear' including greeting cards, t-shirts, tea towels and mugs can also be purchased. All profits of these sales will also go towards Singing Medicine's work.

Noah Bear was imagined and created by Joanna Harrison for Ex Cathedra Singing Medicine.

Singing Medicine is possible thanks to support from trusts including major donations from the Oak Foundation, Froebel Trust, and Masonic Charitable Foundation.

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