Write to your local MP: Government guidance on indoor singing
New Government guidance has been issued which restricts the permitted number of those singing indoors together in England to a maximum of six people. While the public health situation remains a concerning one, research shows that singing is no more dangerous in terms of COVID-19 transmission than shouting, speaking loudly or physical exercise. It appears that choirs are being treated as simply a social pastime, rather than an organised activity overseen by a recognised body (usually a charity or business) which is able to put effective safety protocols in place.
Writing to politicians is an effective way to support a campaign by making them aware of the strength of feeling around an issue. You can read more about our advice on writing letters before you get started. Your first-hand experiences are vital for persuading politicians to support our campaigns. So make sure to use your own situation and experience to make it more personal. If you send an e-mail to your local MP, please cc us in at [email protected] and do contact us to share your feedback about our template letter, or if you would like to know more about campaigning work.
[Address of local MP]
Dear [insert local MP name]
RE: Government guidance restricting the permitted number of those singing indoors together in England to a maximum of six people.
As one of your constituents, I am writing to ask you to contact the Department for Culture Media and Sport to publish the scientific basis on which the latest guidance on indoor singing was announced. I would also like to suggest that it is brought in line with the guidance for other non-professional activity indoors such as sport, as was the case between August and December 2020.
Last autumn, choirs demonstrated through Government-funded research that they were able to put protocols in place and operate in a safe manner, without any infections being reported as a result. Other research last year (sponsored by PHE) showed that singing is no more dangerous in terms of transmission than shouting, speaking loudly or physical exercise. It appears that choirs are being treated as simply a social pastime, rather than an organised activity overseen by recognised bodies which are able to put effective safety protocols in place.
My membership body, the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), together with many others in the creative sector share my concerns. They recognise that, unless this situation is addressed, there will be a significant negative impact on the wellbeing of over 2 million participants in singing groups across the country. It is proven that singing in a group is a remedy for loneliness and isolation, one of the determining factors in people’s mental and indeed physical health outcomes.
The guidance will also have a cultural and financial impact, as ticket sales will have to be reimbursed for the cancellation of upcoming performances. In addition, many of the UK’s 40,000 choirs are led by professionals who remain dependent on Government support until they can restart their professional life. [Insert short description of your own experiences that demonstrate the importance of singing]
Finally, it is a source of further frustration that the guidance was issued after the start of Step 3 of the Government roadmap. The ISM has received reports that, in some instances, rehearsals had already started with time and resources invested in ensuring safe rehearsals.
I hope you will seriously consider my request to raise this important issues and support choirs like [insert name of choir] and others across [insert the name of where you live]. It is crucial to act immediately in order for this country to begin enjoying the benefits of indoor singing once again.