Ali Rigg from Barrow is revolutionising the way we look at our own mental health.

For years she has explored how singing can help our mood as well as neurological conditions. Previously Ali worked for The Alzheimer’s Society, when she left to begin her own self-funded group.

Headstrong in Song was a free group Ali organised for people with neurological conditions, such as Strokes, Dementia, MND, Parkinson’s, Brain Injuries etc. For a year and a half, Ali paid all costs herself and did not charge for her classes. Unfortunately, despite her efforts she was unable to continue the group as she could not secure funding.

For people with neurological conditions, singing has an important impact on their health. Singing releases the happy hormones, and helps to boost the immune system. Members exercise their respiratory system and flex their brains whilst social aspects that many people are missing in their lives today.

Ali has not stopped there, she continues with a similar group – With Singing in Mind- and has several groups that aim to affect mood. ‘Excessive demands to make money, on our output means that people are yearning for a way out.’ With mental illness affecting 1 in 4 of us, Ali is fully aware of the demands society is placing on all us. We get up every day to work a job, so we can get money to feed our children, so they can grow up and get a job to feed their children. ‘As adults, we are judged for doing anything that is without reason, anything that is just about pleasure.’

Ali holds groups in Barrow, Ulverston, Grange and Kendal. This is the final year she will be holding Sing Your Heart Out in Barrow, but she won’t be going anywhere. Ali is already planning for the future, deciding the best ways to help people and to give them what they need. ‘People are damaged, their confidence is damaged. Their voices have been stolen.’

Ali is a woman who thinks so entirely of others, she understands the sadness and fear that people keep to themselves and she uses her own money, her own time to try and help them.

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