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Jersey Community Foundation has donated £5,340 of Channel Islands Lottery funding to local charity, Aureole Music, to run a ground-breaking project that combines singing with speech therapy, social bonding, and wellbeing for Islanders living with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is an incurable, degenerative condition, which progressively affects the brain, causing difficulties with movement and balance, and often bringing tremor or shakiness and unsteadiness of gait. The disease also causes vocal decline, although this can be helped with speech therapy and vocal rehabilitation work.

Clinically qualified and experienced Speech and Language Therapist, Sarah Lock, and Aureole Music’s Creative Director and vocal rehabilitation coach, Nicki Kennedy, work with a group of approximately 20 islanders and their respective carers every Friday afternoon at St Andrew’s Church. Blending a series of vocal warm-ups, fun speaking and singing games and exercises, rhythm work and cognitive work, taken from evidence-based programmes, the aim of the project is to help reduce the effects of voice decline and limitations in movement. The group, who call themselves ‘The Sparky Parkys’ learn popular songs and have even performed as a choir to family and friends.

With individuals aged 50 to 90, the project also offers participants the opportunity to meet and socialise with other islanders and share their experiences of living with the disease. Importantly, it also connects carers and helps them to use their learnings from each session to help other Parkinson’s patients.

Patron of Aureole Music, Dr Karen Kyd, says, “With a background in medicine, I am particularly pleased and appreciative to learn that Aureole Music has been awarded funding to carry out a vital service for the Island’s Parkinson’s community. While a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is shocking and upsetting, it does not mean a loss of hope. This project strongly illustrates the work that can be done to improve and slow down the effects of the disease. In the same way that exercise strengthens muscles and improves fitness, speech and motor therapy can strengthen neural pathways making speaking and movement easier. I would like to thank Sarah and Nicki for all their work in bringing this project together and for all that they do to help Islanders living with Parkinson’s.”

Creative Director, Nicki Kennedy, says, “Research has shown that mixing song, speech, and language therapy can help to rewire the brain and significantly improve outcomes for patients. This can be life changing for people with Parkinson’s disease, rebuilding confidence and helping to keep sufferers engaging in their communities. Having established the project in 2022, our work is already making a real difference to participant’s everyday lives. They report improvements in their voice and ability to communicate, as well as an increase in their confidence. Importantly, they also feel valued and part of a tightly knit community. We are grateful to Jersey Community Foundation for awarding us with Channel Island Lottery funding which enables us to run this innovative project until 2025.”

CEO of Jersey Community Foundation, Anna Terry, says, “One of the key aims of Jersey Community Foundation is to give funding to individuals, families, and charities in need in Jersey. Aureole Music’s application for funding made clear the neural and therapeutic benefits for Islanders living with Parkinson’s disease. We are very pleased to support this unique and critical project and we wish Aureole Music and its participants all the very best. Our next round of Channel Island Lottery funding application deadline is 14 April 2023 and we encourage applications from all kinds of charities.”

The project, which is run in conjunction with Parkinson’s UK Jersey Branch, is open to anyone who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. If you have Parkinson’s disease or care for someone suffering from the disease and are interested in joining the choir or know of someone with Parkinson’s disease who would be interested in joining, please contact Nicki Kennedy at

Aureole Music was set-up in 2020 in response to Covid-19 to enable Jersey’s choral community to continue singing online. They recorded and sold music tracks and raised thousands of pounds for local charities such as Age Concern, NSPCC, Caring Cooks, Holidays for Heroes, and Mind Jersey. They have now turned their attention to providing live stimulation and entertainment to vulnerable and or isolated communities in Jersey. They run a project called ‘Monday Melodies’ whereby they visit care homes each week to lead singalongs, encouraging residents to take part.

Nicki Kennedy enjoyed a long and successful career as an international Opera singer and sang in films such as Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean. In addition to running Aureole Music, Nicki is now a prominent vocal coach in Jersey and the UK, teaching singing, presenting and vocal health and rehabilitation at a national level. Sarah Lock returned to Jersey from Australia in 2022, having been involved in a similar project there, working with the evidence based ‘Speak Out!’ programme.

£5,340 awarded to local charity offering ground-breaking Parkinson’s support

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