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The Suffolk company that’s boosting office wellbeing through the power of song

PUBLISHED: 16:48 05 September 2018

Come-and-sing-21: Tom Appleton and Ellie Bowers-Jolley, Co-Founders of the Come and Sing Company. Credit: Alice the Camera

Come-and-sing-21: Tom Appleton and Ellie Bowers-Jolley, Co-Founders of the Come and Sing Company. Credit: Alice the Camera

Alice Boagey

Singing with your work colleagues might sound like the sort of thing that involves drunken wailing on the dance floor at the end of the Christmas party. But for a growing number of companies, its an activity that’s being encouraged - in order to boost staff wellbeing.

TA Smile: Tom Appleton, Co-Founder of the Come and Sing Company. Credit: Wellington CollegeTA Smile: Tom Appleton, Co-Founder of the Come and Sing Company. Credit: Wellington College

The Come and Sing Company (CASC), which is based in Bury Saint Edmunds, is one local business tapping into the trend by setting up corporate choirs, and organising singing workshops as teambuilding events for corporates.

But while a lucky few of us can belt out a tune like Beyonce, others may be more reluctant - or even tone deaf. “We love working with those people,” says co founder Tom Appleton. “Do they sing with 30,000 other people at Portman Road each week? Do they sing lullabies to their new born babies? Do they hum along in the car to the latest Ed Sheeran song? If so, we’ve got a chance of helping them connect to their businesses’ core values by helping sing its praises!”

CASC aims to bring people together in song, working with businesses, schools, healthcare providers, community hubs, the National Trust, amateur choirs, festivals and churches “to help create greater social cohesion,” explained Mr Appleton.

Mr Appleton and Ellie Bowers-Jolley met while singing together with the internationally renowned Monteverdi Choir. Since forming the company last May, they have been supported by local organisations StartEast and Menta with training and finance. “Without their help, we’d never have been able to achieve what we have done so far,” said Mr Appleton.

Massed Choir: Tom Appleton leading a massed choir singing day at Wellington College. Credit: Wellington CollegeMassed Choir: Tom Appleton leading a massed choir singing day at Wellington College. Credit: Wellington College

The corporate clients they have on board so far include Galgorm Hotel and Spa in Northern Ireland, West Suffolk College in Bury Saint Edmunds and a hospice in Essex.

A recent survey of 1,000 business leaders conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce found that almost a third of businesses have seen an increase in the number of workers taking time off for mental health reasons, which is one reason companies are looking for new ways to tackle staff wellbeing; other corporate choirs operating in the region include The Endeavour Singers, which is made up of staff members (old and new) from Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council. Colchester Borough Council also has its own choir.

To Mr Appleton, the trend also reflects the growing popularity of singing generally.

“The reasons for this are wide-spread but at its core is a recognition that mental and physical health, being part of a community, and keeping active are key to an individual’s sense of well-being,” he said. Singing is totally accessible, you don’t need expensive equipment or the faff of ‘away-days’, we can come to you and help transform your working environment for the better and for the long term.”

CASC LogoCASC Logo

Last week, CASC recieved a big boost when Mr Appleton and Ms Bowers-Jolley sent a tweet to retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis about their business during ‘Small Business Sunday.’ CASC was chosen as one of six weekly winners to gain a retweet by Mr Paphitis to his 500,000 Twitter followers. And Bright Pig, who provide online marketing support, named CASC their business of the week.

As a result of this recognition, CASC’s Twitter followers went up by around 20% in five days, and it’s website hits saw a 350% increase on normal traffic. “We’ve taken three confirmed bookings for our teambuilding, staff motivation and well-being services with more in the pipe line as a direct result of these awards,” said Mr Appleton

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