Red tape puts Christmas concert in jeopardy

Sandhills Singers make their debut in 2012
Sandhills Singers make their debut in 2012

An ‘upset’ Leighton choir is in urgent need of a venue, after health and safety red tape put their Christmas concert in jeopardy.

Sandhills Singers are desperate to find somewhere to perform on the evening of Monday, December 5, after they couldn’t afford to pay ‘expensive’ liability insurance.

The festive choir had arranged to hold their free annual concert in Greenfields community centre, Theedway, where the team practice each week.

In October, choir chair, Sue Hind Woodward, claims she spoke to centre managers about the possibility of needing insurance for the public performance, receiving an email last Tuesday stating that Aldwyck Housing, who own Greenfields, would require them to be covered.

Sue said: “We’ll take whoever will have us!

“I received a quote of £106 to cover the group and the cheapest I could find was £68. But some of our members are young mums, some are retired - we can’t afford to pay that.

“The group were disheartened but we’re going to stay positive – I know the Greenfields staff wanted us to perform. If we have to, on Monday, we’ll stand in our practice room with the doors open, so people can walk by and listen!”

The singers are looking for a venue which could hold around 50 audience members, as well as the 12 choir members, and a keyboard player – but without the need for insurance.

The team have prepared many festive numbers to perform, including Deck the Halls, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Silent Night.

Sandhills Singers started in 2012, aiming to unite residents of the Sandhills estate and provide a friendly environment without membership auditions.

They used to practise in the much-loved Sandhills Community House until its temporary lease ended and it closed down in August.

Sue said: “The group has grown organically and people are so keen to learn. Over the years it’s been wonderful to see members come along and enjoy the experience - even master songs in a different language.

“We could perform in a church hall or pub – anywhere. We’re open to suggestions.”

A spokesperson for Aldwyck Housing Group, said: “Aldwyck Housing Group has followed its health and safety procedure to ensure that all of its staff and members of the public are not at risk while using the facilities at Greenfields.

“The organisation would love the Sandhills Singing Choir to perform at the venue but unfortunately it has not been possible for suitable arrangements to be made. We hope that in future they will be able to become an integral part of the Greenfields community.”

If you can help, call Sue on: 07855 398268. The group cannot move the date from Monday, but may be flexible with the time of afternoon/evening.

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