WAST (Women Asylum Seekers Together) Choir

WAST (Women Asylum Seekers Together) Choir

A choir of women seeking asylum, who meet weekly & sing together at various events to raise the profile of Asylum Seekers

Benefit of singing and music

Singing has been shown to offer social, personal and mood benefits for adults, and a lot of evidence highlights the benefits specifically for older people. For people with dementia, singing activities can reduce symptoms of depression and behavioural issues. Singing in a group encourages social bonding, group identity and inclusion across cultural groups. Music also improves mental wellbeing and has been associated with reduced anxiety in young adults and reduced risk of depression in older people. It can support bonding between mothers and infants and plays a part in language development. Music and singing may also improve quality of life and coping for people living with health conditions.


City wide

Project team

Women Asylum Seekers Together

Buzz – provided funding for choir expenses


These are some of the most isolated and stigmatized women in Manchester. Some are expected to live with no recourse to public funding. The women have found that singing together can give respite to their severe anxiety and depression. They build support between one another, and learn to tell their stories, despite judgement and ignorance.


“I feel stronger when I am singing with my sisters. I am more able to face the world.”


The project will continue when shutdown is lifted, and the choir are able to meet together again. It is, for some, the only social contact they have, through the week. The WAST choir has performed to a growing number of audiences. It is a source of comfort and strength, and an expression of the wider membership of WAST.

Strategic links to local/national policies



Increased mental wellbeing

Manchester Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Social and wellbeing benefits for older people

Taking Charge of our Health and Social Care in Greater Manchester (GMCA, 2015)

Manchester Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Increased social cohesion

NHS Five Year Forward View (Department of Health, 2014)

Good start in life for children

Taking Charge of our Health and Social Care in Greater Manchester (GMCA, 2015)

Manchester Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Encourages social connection and inclusion

Manchester Population Health Plan

Helps with coping for people with health conditions

The Manchester Prevention Programme

Research/evidence base

WHO Regional Office for Europe (2019) What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? A scoping review

Van der Stein et al (2018) Music‐based therapeutic interventions for people with dementia, Cochrane Systematic Review

Daykin et al (2017) What works for wellbeing? A systematic review of wellbeing outcomes for music and singing in adults. Perspectives in Public Health, 138 (1), pp. 39-46

What Works for Wellbeing (2016) Review of the Grey Literature: Music, Singing and Wellbeing

A Choir In Every Care Home (2016) A Review Of Research On The Value Of Singing For Older People


Bernie Murphy - Neighbourhood Health Worker


T: 07971331537

If you found this page helpful, maybe someone else will too?

"Before I didn’t know anyone in this area, then a neighbour invited me to the afternoon tea, and I met lots of people who live just a few doors away."

Local resident attending Spoon and Ladle afternoon tea, Burnage

Local resident attending Spoon and Ladle afternoon tea, Burnage photo