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Project information

Singing for Breathing

A flagship arts & health project, designed to support older people with Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other diseases, as well as young people with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). It promotes symptom self-management, encourages the development of support networks and improves mental health.

March 2018 - June 2019

Charity information: Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity

Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity logo
  • Need


    Chronic lung and heart conditions can leave patients with breathlessness, chest infections, anxiety and depression. There are no cures but symptoms can be better managed via regular singing/lung health workshops. Two groups particularly affected are:
    • Older people who struggle to manage symptoms and display higher levels of anxiety
    • Young CF patients who (on gaining independence) can shy away from treatment. They have little peer support – socialising is limited due to cross-infection risk


    Singing for Breathing supports patients with chronic lung & heart conditions. We will provide more than 100 workshops over the year, along with several public performances. We will also introduce Sing Up! – a subsection of Singing for Breathing, which uses online media and Skype to provide group singing sessions for young CF patients.
    These sessions all aim to improve symptoms through posture and breath control techniques, and build a robust peer support network to improve mental wellbeing.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Teach patients techniques to manage their condition, improve symptoms & reduce hospital admissions


    » Teaching specific breathing management techniques through singing and vocal coaching
    » Improving posture through singing and vocal coaching
    » Delivering a programme of more than 150 workshops and one-to-one sessions both in person and via Skype

    What success will look like

    We will measure attendance and feedback from users, as well as using surveys to measure quality of life. We will also collect case studies.

    Aim 2

    To improve mental wellbeing & reduce isolation for older people with chronic lung & heart conditions


    » Encouraging peer to peer support through regular workshops and group performances
    » Signposting to other relevant services, which may offer additional support needed
    » Recruiting and training participants as ambassadors for the programme to provide additional support and recruit more patients to take part

    What success will look like

    We will use a survey to measure quality of life including the improvement of symptoms and monitoring of mental wellbeing. We will also collect case studies.

    Aim 3

    Reduce anxiety, depression and non-compliance with treatment programmes among young CF patients


    » Engaging young people with a fun and inclusive option to help manage symptoms
    » Working with patients before their conditions get worse and prevent them from singing
    » Providing access to an online peer support network of other participants with CF
    » Sharing a number of follow-along videos online, allowing patients to partake via smart technology

    What success will look like

    We will measure the uptake of the programme of activities, the number of views the videos receive and the use of the quality of life survey and case studies.

    Aim 4

    To bring Singing for Breathing to patients across the UK by creating a replicable model of support


    » Sharing findings and models of support with other hospitals and lung health networks

    What success will look like

    We will measure the amount of information shared and any significant dissemination projects.

  • Impact


    Partakers will likely see a long term improvement in their symptoms and overall quality of life, leading to fewer negative impacts from their condition, including reducing social isolation, and fewer mental health impacts resulting from poorly managed symptoms. They will have better potential to manage their condition and be more active members of society, with young people finding education, training or employment more manageable. This will be captured through feedback case studies and surveys.


    • Lack of funding
    • Reliance on technology to deliver project
    • Involvement of ambassadors

    We continue to fundraise from a range of sources to ensure there is funding available for this project.

    We will provide thorough training for facilitators and ambassadors on online media, Skype and social media. We will also make the programme as easy to follow as possible.

    Patient ambassadors are important to us and we will give them a high level of support and training to maximise retention rates.


    Any donor who wishes to be contacted by us in the future will receive updates through our regular e-newsletters or bi-annual written newsletter. Donors will also receive an invite to our Christmas Carol Concert where Singing for breathing participants perform.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £26,500

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £15,600 Singing for Breathing Singing for Breathing facilitators
      £2,250 Singing for Breathing Specialist breathing physiotherapist
      £3,300 Singing for Breathing Participant & ambassador recruitment/marketing:
      £3,000 Singing for Breathing Filming and video editing
      £2,000 Singing for Breathing Project monitoring and evaluation
      £250 Singing for Breathing Travel expenses
      £100 Singing for Breathing Refreshments

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity £5,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The programme will be delivered across both Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals, as well as through outreach sessions in Hillingdon and Chelsea. As national lung and heart specialist hospitals, our patients come from across the UK from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.


    More than 250 patients with chronic heart and lung conditions will benefit from this project each year. The majority of those supported will be between 19 and 25 or over 65 – these two groups of patients will benefit most from the specific programme of activities. All those benefiting will be in need of additional support to manage their condition and most will also be experiencing some combination of isolation, anxiety and/or depression as a result of their condition.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Ours is the UK’s leading hospital for serious respiratory conditions and Europe’s leading hospital for treating CF. 2018 will be the 10th anniversary of Singing for Breathing in the UK. It was the first of its kind and has been copied all over the UK. In the past 12 months, it has helped 100 patients. Randomised trials have shown physical and mental benefits. User feedback is very positive. Our Arts team is entirely Charity funded and is extremely effective at delivering therapy through art.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Karen Taylor

    Head of Arts, will be the project lead. Karen oversees delivery of hospital arts programmes including drama, music, photography and dance

    Karen Janody

    Arts Manager, will act as the intermediary between the hospitals and singing facilitators to manage logistics and ensure quality

    Heather McClelland

    Singing for Breathing Facilitator, runs weekly breathing exercise sessions, relaxation therapy and vocal coaching for patients