A Ross-on-Wye ladies mental health choir is looking to swell its ranks saying that members can reap the rewards of singing.

Border Belles was founded by Emma Rowland-Elsen after the Covid-19 pandemic as a safe space for women to sing, get support and to meet new people. Since then, the group has grown to have 80 women involved. They are now looking to increase this number to 100 women.

Members of Border Belles meet every Wednesday night for practises, as well as regular concerts. Monthly cafe meetings are also held with a specific topic each time. 

Not focusing on one genre, the group covers all types of music, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

The founder and conductor of Border Belles, Emma, said: “The choir is all about singing for the benefits of mental health. 

“It’s not necessarily just a place for women with a mental health diagnosis, instead its more about keeping your wellbeing and mental health going. It’s about empowering women and offering support.

“I set up the choir as a safe space for women to just come and be themselves. We never audition our members and we don’t expect them to be able to sing well - or even to be able to sing at all as we teach everything from scratch!  That’s not what it’s about. We do expect them to be supportive, inclusive and up for a laugh. And that’s exactly what we’ve got!”

Describing why she loves being a part of Border Belles, one member said: “It’s women supporting women and in a world that can be quick to criticise and judge, this little bubble of Belles is not only empowering but refreshing and I blooming love it”.

Another member said: “The best part of being wither Border Belles is the sheer madness of it. There’s no end to the talent.

“Everyone is so supportive and nothing is a problem, Emma and Jenn (deputy conductor) make you feel you can sing anything and believe me, that takes some doing.”

For more information on joining Border Belles, visit: https://www.facebook.com/BorderBellesChoir