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Singing group helps Northamptonshire people breathe easier and make sweet music

Date 21.11.2017

A group created by a University of Northampton graduate to improve people’s breathing through singing has branched out with the instrumental addition of harmonica classes.

Singing 4 Breathing was established in 2015 by Occupational Therapy (OT) alumni James Wyatt as a project for the second year of his course.

The group helps people diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) increase their lung capacity as people with the condition often experience chronic breathlessness.

The group has been an immediate success, winning a Heart of Northampton award in 2017. They have sung at national venues including Royal Festival Hall in London.

The group has grown to include Singing 4 Breathing classes in Corby as well as Northampton. They now hold the UKs only harmonica playing session, specifically for people with respiratory conditions.

image photo singing breathing harmonica

Singing 4 Breathing’s harmonica group in action.

James, who is an Occupational Therapist at St Andrew’s Healthcare in Northampton, said: “Breathing well is something we all take for granted, so having a lung condition can literally feel like having the wind taken out of your sails.

“At Singing 4 Breathing, we’re all about bringing a little bit of joy into people’s lives. Our next step is to take the classes directly into hospices and nursing homes to continue doing this.”

Debbie Hewson, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at University of Northampton: “Through the support of the university and the Changemaker priniciples, our students have the opportunity to take an idea and make it happen.

“Through his Occupational Therapy degree, James was able to identify a need within the local community and an idea that would make a difference to people’s lives.

“The Singing 4 Breathing initiative is having a massive impact on individuals’ health and well being. What James and his group have achieved has been incredible.”

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