Medway based homeless charity AMAT UK is pleased to announce the release of our Alive & Singing Choir’s first charity album on the 29th January 2021

AMAT UK is proud to announce that our Alive & Singing Choir’s first charity album will be released his month, to help raise funds for the continuation of this brilliant project

Music is such a powerful medium – and for many of us in Lockdown over the last year, it has been a lifeline, as well as a way of connecting with others despite how long we must remain apart. For many of us Music is a huge part of managing our mental wellbeing, whether that be a form of escapism, listening to a song that makes us feel “understood” or just feels good to sing along to.

Launching on 29th January, “A Place to call my own” is an originals album, funded by the Arts Council and individual donations, written by professional song-writing partnership Matthew Crozer and Cat Smithurst in collaboration with Residents & staff of the Medway-based homeless service AMAT UK amatuk.org.

The album captures the issues that many members of the homeless community face daily; the pain of losing loved ones, substance misuse, domestic violence, addiction, and difficulties with mental health. The album also captures the moments of kindness shown to AMAT Residents, as well as documenting that when they had very little, the humour and tenacity that all of these individuals possess is what empowered them to rebuild their lives with the help of the amazing AMAT and 411 HUB staff.

Gathering the information and cataloguing the experiences of the residents was designed to be an empowering and therapeutic journey for those involved. Residents were invited to take part in surveys, task groups and individually interviewed about their experience of homelessness and how they came to live at AMAT UK. These resulted in the songs that you will hear on the record. The creation of the songs and the opportunity to be involved in the performance of the album gave our residents a sense of purpose, something to be part of, and ultimately something to be proud of. Many of our residents have never had the opportunity to work with professional musicians or experience working in a recording studio and we are thrilled that they rose to the challenge and hope that this will be just the start of things to come.

The project was devised by Cat Smithurst, a professional musician who has a long-standing relationship with AMAT UK and a background in personal development:

“I knew that this would be a really special project to work on. I have had the pleasure of working with the choir since it was formed in 2016, I have got to know the staff and residents well and was so excited about the opportunity to help them tell their stories as well as raising awareness about the many issues as to why people become homeless. Most people do not realise how close to being homeless they could be, and I think the stories told throughout the album are themes that everyone can relate to, whilst reiterating that point. The stories of incredible resilience and individuality shone through, as well as the outstanding ability that AMAT Residents have to reset, repair and rediscover themselves as individuals rather than a contributing statistic to local rough sleeper counts. Writing and recording this album has been an absolute joy! We hope that you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it.”

The album will be released on 29th January 2021; a launch event will take place via our Facebook page, with a live gig later in the year [when government restrictions are eased and it is safe to do so]. A CD of the album is available to purchase via the AMAT UK website and all monies go directly back into the charity. The album is also available via online outlets and streaming services – we would ask supporters to please make sure you buy it, not just stream it. Even if you never normally buy music, even if you have never bought music before, if you want to give money to the charity you have to buy it so that 100% of the profits will go back into the charity. If you just stream it, instead of giving them 99p you’ll be giving them something more like 0.99p.

For more information or details of how to log into to our virtual Album Launch – please contact services@amatuk.org

Medway Times