Community Group of the Year/Charity Champion or Volunteer of the Year nominee – Staffordshire Choirs Association/Ashley Mellor
Musical director Ashley Mellor has been told he should be prescribed by the NHS for the joy he brings into people’s lives.
The 31-year-old, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, is the founder and director of The Staffordshire Choirs Association.
The association, which Ashley established in 2016, now runs 30 choirs in the county including three non-auditioned community choirs designed to open the joys of singing up to anyone.
Ashley, who trained at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and was formerly the organist at Tewkesbury Abbey, is the musical director of around 20 of the association’s choirs.
He said: “I just wanted to bring people together through music by creating a network to offer care and support. I purposefully wanted to cater for different levels of ability and different age groups.”
The Staffordshire Choirs Association has been nominated as a Community Group of the Year and Ashley has been nominated as a Charity Champion of Volunteer of the Year in the Your Heroes Awards by Ashley’s sister, Amy.
She said: “Ashley has put together a community of singers that promotes and believes in the benefits of singing for both the joy it brings and the mental health and emotional wellbeing benefits.
“Ashley truly believes in the power of music and how it can completely change, and sometimes save, lives. He has the most wonderful character that can blow the blues away in just 90 minutes and transform over 200 voices into what is the most glorious uplifting music.
“Ashley has been described as an irreplaceable joy in people’s lives and has regularly been told he should be prescribed by the NHS for mental health. He is not just a hero to me, his little sister, but a hero to over 200 people who come together every week.”
Ashley added: “I feel quite honoured to have been thought about for a Your Heroes Award. I do what I do because I love it and I love helping other people.”