Posted: 16 December 2019

The silent choir

Last weekend, on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, a few hours of quiet fell on Piccadilly Circus. A young choir gathered outside Fortnum and Mason, opened their mouths, and nothing came out.

The silent treatment

Silence has long been used as a tool for reflection, protest and communication. From silent movies in the 1900s to minute silences at sporting events, a shared moment of peace can be more powerful than a thousand voices.  

This is especially true in a modern society where everyone seems to be jostling for the right to be heard. 

Christmas is probably the loudest time of year. The pubs are packed, fireworks are primed and high street shops are constantly competing for attention. It’s in this competitive space where a moment of silence speaks volumes. The power is not in what is said, it’s what you’ve left unsaid. 

The power of a pause 

Pauses are powerful. The arts will use them to build tension or create comedy - most importantly they draw observation. Even in characters, the strong silent type is portrayed as someone who is observed. 

The silence of our young choir draws attention, not just to the act, but to what they stand up and sing for. We’re living in a society where 6,000 children will be forced to run away this Christmas, where 46,000 children will be at risk of abuse and neglect, and where half a million children with mental health problems will have no one to ask for help. These children and young people too often go unseen and unheard. 

Breaking their silence

So many children are deprived not only of the Christmas spirit, but of a voice each and every day, as they feel unable to ask for help. We listen to these young people and help them overcome the difficulties they face. Here's what would be said if their voices were unlocked:

'If my voice can be heard, I ask you to recognise carers and promote their involvement in the social care system.' - Chloe, young carer

Chloe is just one of many young people we have spoken to who don't feel listened to. There are so many others with multiple difficulties who feel like they have to suffer in silence.


By Kaja Zuvac-Graves

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