“We Rise By Lifting Others”

Robert Ingersoll

Our Why

Harmony Belles is foremost about singing together for joy but running a very close second is performing in concerts and raising money for our chosen charities.  Over the past ten years, we have raised over £20,000 across seventeen charities, many of which were based within our local community and were close to the hearts of some of our members. Supporting a charity gives us not just an opportunity to sing in public and raise money, but also drives us through the rehearsals, gives us a common goal to do our very best and to sing our hearts out. We invite charity representatives to attend the concert and inform the audience about the charity and where the funds raised will be used. This holistic approach helps inspire people to donate and to understand exactly where the monies are spent at the same time as provide entertainment. Some of the charities we have supported over the years have shared their stories with us:

Some Of The Charities We’ve Helped Raise For

Our Ripple Effect

Chattertots is a small charity providing early intervention for children with Down Syndrome in Berkshire. They launched in 2015 with just 3 families. By 2021, they had grown to support over 30 families. Speech and language is the biggest hurdle for children with Down Syndrome. Early speech and language intervention helps children master these essential life skills. Chattertots rely on fundraising and donations to provide this valuable service.

They offer a range of services to local families using evidence-proven methods to give them the best possible start. This includes:

• Weekly speech and language therapy for pre-school children.

• Half-termly visits from an educational consultant to schools to provide guidance on specific teaching and behavioural strategies for children with Down Syndrome.

• Providing independent reports into the EHCP process to secure better provision at school.

• Sending children with a “starter box” to school with specific educational resources.

• Running a summer school with intensive individual therapy.

• Organising fun bespoke events with additional support eg horse riding, trampolining, etc.

In early 2018 Ruth Strauss, wife of former England cricket captain Sir Andrew Strauss, was diagnosed with a terminal lung cancer that affects non-smokers. Ruth died in December 2018; she was 46 years old and mother to two children, then aged 10 and 13. In her memory, Sir Andrew Strauss set up the Ruth Strauss Foundation.

41,000 children experience the death of a parent every year in the UK – that is 112 every single day. Every year more than 6,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with non-smoking lung cancer. Over 57% are diagnosed at stage IV when there is no curative treatment. The Ruth Strauss Foundation’s mission is two-fold:

- To ensure that every family with a child facing the death of a parent from cancer is offered the professional emotional support they need to prepare the family for the future.

- To facilitate collaboration and influence research in the fight against non-smoking lung cancers, so that together we find the causes sooner and improve outcomes.

Helen & Douglas House is a warm, homely place for local children living with life-limiting and terminal conditions, and their families. They provide round-the-clock care in a comforting environment. Their hospice is filled with laughter, whilst also being a peaceful place where families can create happy memories in their last days, weeks, months or years together.

Based in Oxford, and supporting families from all the surrounding counties, they care for children with life-limiting and terminal conditions at the hospice and through their outreach service. Helen & Douglas House is the world’s first children’s hospice, and they care for babies and children up to the age of 18.

Helen & Douglas House were thrilled to be the Harmony Belles’ chosen charity for their 2023 Christmas concert. The generosity of the choir and their guests helps Helen & Douglas House to be there for the local children and families who need their care.

Harmony Belles were delighted to have raised £3,661.15 for Helen and Douglas House at our Christmas in Harmony Concert in December 2023. Check out our blog page to find out more.

Marlow FM has been at the heart of the Marlow community for many years. Their studio at Longridge is due to be demolished later in the year and they are moving to a new location in an old caretaker’s garage at Great Marlow School. However, it will take a lot of work to convert the garage to a studio and Marlow FM have launched their biggest ever fundraising campaign so they can create a studio to be proud of with much needed new equipment and a place to call home for many years to come.

Harmony Belles were delighted to have raised just over £1,000 for Marlow FM's New Home at our Around the World in Harmony Concert on 8th July 2023.

Marlow Age Concern was established over 30 years ago and their main aim is to help older residents in the Greater Marlow area, particularly those confined to their homes by age or infirmity. They offer information and advice to friends, neighbours and family members seeking to support older people. They also provide a Day Centre which gives elderly people the opportunity to meet socially once a week, providing them with a hot lunch and transport.

Harmony Belles was proud to have raised just over £1,000 for Marlow Age Concern at our Around the World in Harmony Concert on Saturday 8th of July.

Epilepsy is one of the most common serious neurological conditions in the world and can affect anyone, at any age and from any walk of life. Around 87 people are diagnosed with epilepsy in the UK every day and there are around 600,000 people in the UK living with epilepsy. This equates to one in every 100 people.

Epilepsy Action is the UK’s biggest community of people who want a better future for people affected by epilepsy. Their expert advice helps people affected by epilepsy to understand the condition and take a more active role in their own care and treatment. The charity offers free vital services such as their Freephone helpline, website, and local support groups around the UK.

The charity’s freephone helpline is a vital service, with trained advisors who provide much-needed advice and support for people affected by epilepsy when they need it most.

Some of Epilepsy Action’s work also includes campaigning for better healthcare services so that people with epilepsy have the support they need to manage their condition. The charity is committed to raising awareness and understanding of epilepsy and improving public attitudes to create a better, fairer future for people with epilepsy.

Dementia Action for Marlow is a registered charity group specifically set up for those people who are living with dementia and their carers.

They aim to:

-      provide support and facilitate social interaction by making regular contact, and arranging small ‘café gatherings’

-      to enable friendships between those in similar situations

-      to provide a voice to improve the information, pathways, help and support available

Click the image above for more information.

Smart Works Reading tackles a root cause of poverty by supporting women into work. Our free service incorporates a two-hour appointment, during which each client receives a high-quality work outfit and 1-2-1 interview coaching. Once they get the job, we provide additional free workwear to see them through to their first pay cheque, and coaching to help them thrive in their new role. Since we opened in 2015, we have delivered over 1800 appointments and more than 730 of our clients have got the job. You can help us to support more women to transform their lives. For more information on donating money or clothing, or how you can volunteer with us, please visit our website.

Smart Works Reading were delighted with the donation from Harmony Belles. We continue to offer a large number of women help with career coaching which includes assistance with suitable interview clothing and practice.

It is a very exciting time for us as we continue to focus on the goals of our 3 year plan which is to double the number of women we see within the next 3 years. It is ambitious, but doable. We couldn't provide this service without the support from organisations such as Harmony Belles.

Click the image above for more information.

We are Buckinghamshire Mind, the mental health charity. Our vision is that everyone with a mental health problem gets both support and respect. We deliver services in our local communities, in Buckinghamshire and East Berkshire. We promote wellbeing and recovery; we prevent mental ill health; we offer talking therapies and we provide support in times of crisis. The generous donation from Harmony Belles helped us to deliver these vital mental health services. Buckinghamshire Mind is run by local people for local people and is responsible for its own funding and the services it provides. Donations such as those from Harmony Belles underpin all our vital mental health services and make an incredible difference, ensuring we can be here to support our community’s mental health needs now and in the future.

Click the image above for more information.

The One Can Trust food bank provides weekly food parcels to the most vulnerable in our community. We work with referring partners to ensure anyone in South Bucks needing support, is able to access our help and receives the care they need to get back up on their feet. At present, we are supporting over 700 people per week. Your very kind donation of £340 enabled us to provide a food parcel to 5 or 6 families, making a significant difference to their lives. Families come to us for a number of reasons but at the moment, insufficient benefits to cover the increased cost of living remains the most prevalent reason.

Click the image above for more information.

One Can Trust

The One Can Trust food bank provides weekly food parcels to the most vulnerable in our community. We work with referring partners to ensure anyone in South Bucks needing support, is able to access our help and receives the care they need to get back up on their feet. At present, we are supporting over 700 people per week. Your very kind donation of £340 enabled us to provide a food parcel to 5 or 6 families, making a significant difference to their lives. Families come to us for a number of reasons but at the moment, insufficient benefits to cover the increased cost of living remains the most prevalent reason.

Our Community Connected

Harmony Belles: Connected to each other,  our community, our supporters and our charities. All connected through the power of song.
Come and join us

Our Supporters

Logo Design by Georgia Featherstone

We are so excited about our fabulous Harmony Belles Logo. Georgia really took our brief and ran with it, coming up with a gorgeous design that reflected the individuality of each choir member. She cleverly uses different musical annotation in the character designs as well as a river like stave representing Marlow and the Thames.

She has also designed us a specific logo for our Platinum Jubilee Concert as well as a Christmas Concert logo to be used later in the year. A very talented young woman.

Interested in finding out more about original logo designs, contact Georgia through her website, www.georgiapaigeplanet.com

Photographer – Hannah Milsom

Hannah did an amazing job taking photos of the choir both at rehearsal and in concert. We are truly grateful to Hannah for taking the time to not only take the photos but to process them and send them through so professionally. Hannah did all of this as a very kind gift to the choir. The photos were of an incredibly high standard and the images reflect not only the hand of a good photographer but are a great reflection of the members of the choir.  We would definitely recommend Hannah for anyone looking someone to take fantastic professional photos for that special celebration or for any business or group.

If you are interested in contacting Hannah for quality professional photos, you contact her by email – hannahmilsom@hotmail.com, or via mobile on 07966205442

Martin Ashford – Music In Marlow Martin Ashford is the Elder of Christ Church United Reform Church and is also heavily involved with MusicinMarlow, a voluntary music group. Martin was involved with Harmony Belles right from the start, providing us with great information about where to search for our new Musical Director, and how to source accompanists as well music copyright and performance rights. He was a veritable foundation of information.

We would really like to thank Martin for all his support. MusicInMarlow was started in 2012 by Martin and Jean Ashford, out of their love of music and association with Christ Church URC, of which this is a project. Martin and Jean are now leaving Marlow, having run their 75th and final concert in May 2022. It is hoped that the MusicinMarlow programme will still continue at Christ Church, which itself was built in 1840 and beautifully modernised in 2002-3.

For more information about MusicinMarlow please go to the website https://www.musicinmarlow.org.uk

Website Design by Ali Greenwood

Ali did a brilliant job on putting together a brief for our website, designing and building a website that would attract new members and provide access to music for our current members. He quickly grasped the theme of what we were trying to achieve as a choir whose main goal is to sing together, have fun and raise money for charities close to our heart.

You can contact Ali on - ali.greenwood55@hotmail.com

South West Chilterns Community Board

Harmony Belles are extremely grateful to the South West Chilterns Community Board for their very generous financial support towards the development of our new website. The support from the board members, in particular Makyla Devlin, the Community Board Coordinator, has been incredible.

For more information about South West Chilterns Community Board, please go to the website https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/community-and-safety/improving-your-local-community/south-west-chilterns-community-board/