Members of a youth choir in Drogheda, which was established in response to the impact the gangland violence was having, say their lives have been transformed by singing.

The Loving Life Choir has now written and recorded a song called Another Day based on the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

The choir was recently shortlisted at the National Community Housing Awards, which recognises the promotion of community participation.

"It was in May 2019 when I got chatting to some of the children in the area and there was after being an outbreak of violence in the town. I sat and chatted with them for a while and the conversation was very much about the violence in the area and all the bad stuff," said Ken O'Heiligh, CEO of the Foscadh Housing Association.

During the conversation, the Housing Association CEO asked the children what they would like to do and they explained how they wanted to sing.

"So from that we decided to set up a choir and have the children sing in a controlled environment away from all the negative things. We wanted to change the conversation for them," he explained.

For 12-year-old Hannah Akinmucko, the choir has had a huge impact.

"When I was in choir, there was a lot of bad things happening in my area but when I went to choir, it made me feel really good and it made me feel happy again," she said.

Many of the children in the choir live in the Moneymore area of Drogheda, one of the worst hit areas during the feud in recent years.

"It makes me feel happy. If there’s bad stuff happening outside choir, it makes me feel safe and happy about what I can do and what is right and wrong," explained Kara Tiernan.

Katie Farrell is another member of the choir.

"We all make friends. No one is mean to each other. It’s really fun to go to when you are scared or down," she said.

Teigan Hamilton is one of the youngest members of the choir and the ten-year-old loves singing with her friends.

"It’s lucky we have a choir, it gets us away from negative things, it’s just calm and amazing," she said.

Another Day was written over zoom workshops during lockdown.

"We did writing sessions over zoom. I came up with questions about the pandemic and this created the template for the song," explained Choir Director Sarah Louisa Nolan.

"Myself and the producer Brian Mullen worked away in the background on the arrangement. When we got together and heard the harmonies for the first time, it was a gorgeous moment," she added.

The children are hoping to record a music video in the next few weeks but it is clear whatever is next, the choir has had a huge impact on the children and their area.

"It’s hard to put into words to justify the efforts these kids have put in. They’re fantastic ambassadors for their community, their town and this whole area," said Mr O'Heiligh said.