BRINGING your team together is something many businesses strive to do through all manner of means.

For some, a day out on an assault course, a trip to the races or setting up a five-a-side football side is how they go about team building.

But what about starting an office-based choir?

Ten years ago, that's just what South Wales-based insurance firm Admiral did. And it has gone from strength to strength.

The choir has about 80 members across Admiral's three bases in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea - with about 25 people making up the Newport choir.

The Newport choir gets together weekly at Admiral House, in Queensway, for a practice session and since starting has performed at all sizes of events, from flash mobs in the staff canteen to performing in front of thousands at rugby internationals at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Emma Smallcombe, of Admiral, said: "The Admiral Inspire Choir was started in October 2008.

"It was set up to provide members of staff with something to do in their lunch time which was enjoyable and energising, yet still relaxing. Choir members say the sessions relieve tension, energise them and make them feel more confident and relaxed.

"The choir rehearses twice a week and is open to all staff, regardless of singing ability. Singing has been shown to reduce stress and increase happiness and the choir has proved to be extremely popular. It currently has around 80 members and they take part in numerous performances throughout the year."

Andrea Callanan, of And Inspire Me, which helps set up work-place and community choirs, was the founding co-conductor of the Admiral Inspire Choir back in 2008.

She said: "An inspire choir is your one-stop solution to engaging your people with your business and improving those ever increasing levels of sickness and attrition.

"With a workplace inspire choir you can achieve long-term, sustainable results including decreased stress, increased productivity and morale and reduced sickness. We also have medical research which indicates our choirs are amazing for well-being.

"And it boosts your company profile within local and business communities. The majority of our clients actually use their choirs for internal or fundraising events and perform in front of live audiences."

Emma Smallcombe said: "The Admiral Choir performs regularly throughout the year. Audiences are varied. It has set fixtures such as internal performances at their annual SGM event, their Top 10 awards to huge audiences at Cardiff Pride and on the pitch at the 6 Nations Rugby. The year is also peppered with smaller performances for certain charity’s that Admiral support and some community performances.

"This choir has performed in the Royal Albert Hall alongside celebrities such as Peter Andre and Bryan Adams, and represented Wales at the Bafta Hotel London and the Wales Millennium Centre.

"We perform mainly pop music – anything from Motown to present day. Think Queen, Michael Jackson right the way through to Pink, Olly Murs, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce. Not forgetting of course, the traditional Welsh choral songs."

Now in it's 10th year, some of the founding members are still part of the choir.

They include Tony Whitcome, one of the trainers based in Newport.

He said: "Admiral was sponsoring the Winter Wonderland in Cardiff in 2008 and we wanted choirs to perform there, so we set one up.

"It is an employment engagement choir really. I really enjoy it. Staff has changed over the years but the enthusiasm for the choir is what draws us to it every week."

Ceri Assiratti, head of people services, said: “The Admiral Inspire Choir is a great example of our staff getting behind one of our wellbeing initiatives. Reaching their 10th anniversary is a fantastic achievement and I look forward to seeing more from the choir in years to come.”

Every new member of staff is encouraged to go to at least one choir session when they start working for Admiral.

They'll find it is an office-based choir of singers and non-singers. Arrangements of the songs are done in such a way that anyone can take part and they are able to download their harmony parts to practice at home if they feel they want to.

Chloe Cooke, of And Inspire Me, who conducts the Newport choir, said: "So far we've not entered any competitions but we have been approached in the past by some TV producers to enter. The integrity of the choir is that we are an office based choir of non-singers which performs and sings as part of an engagement programme that enhances wellbeing and workplace happiness."

Emma Smallcombe said: "Our philosophy at Admiral Group is that people who like what they do, do it better so we go out of our way to ensure coming to work here is enjoyable.

"We are proud to offer a honest and open culture, every member of staff is treated as an equal, achievement is rewarded and recognised, all of which creates a unique and relaxed working environment.

"The Admiral Inspire Choir is a unique benefit which reflects our culture of fun and the importance of staff wellbeing. It is part of our varied benefits package which we hope offers something different for everyone.

"A working environment that promotes healthy living and helps our staff achieve a happy work life balance is a key focus for us, and our Ministry of Health was created with this in mind.

"The MOH team is tasked with maintaining and promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace and it works to achieve agreed standards.

"From supplying fresh fruit everyday to all our sites, to subsidised flu jabs, the Admiral Inspire Choir, mindfulness sessions, yoga, free gym membership, bike to work scheme, blood pressure and cholesterol checks, to physical and mental health awareness campaigns, a calendar of MOH events and initiatives ensures staff wellbeing is at the forefront of our culture.

"We know that a happy and supported workforce will give the best service to our customers and that’s what is needed to make us a successful business."

When Admiral opened its first office in Newport in 2008 it had 68 members of staff based in Langstone.

In 2014 it moved into the city centre and now there are more than 1,000 staff members in Newport across a range of contact centres and support areas.

One reason for opening an office in Newport was to attract a workforce from a wider area. The site has gone from strength to strength and Admiral feel the last 10 years has proved it was a great choice for the business.