Singing for Wellness has started holding weekly sessions at Honiton Family Church, centred around breathing and relaxation exercises followed by group singsongs.
Singing benefits people with respiratory conditions and those suffering the effects of long Covid. The sessions are also an opportunity to socialise in a safe environment.
One Honiton participant said: “Mainly, it has increased my confidence and improved my breathing – plus it puts a smile on my face.”
Others said: “It’s lovely, I look forward to it, it’s a great start to the week,” and “It’s fantastic, I always have a brilliant time.”
The Singing for Wellness project is run by Wren Music, a Devon-based charity which delivers projects with vulnerable groups including children with disabilities, adults in care homes, and children in the care system. Its singing leaders have trained with a respiratory physiotherapist at the University of Plymouth.
The project has received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to run sessions in three locations, including Honiton, for the next three years.
One of the singing leaders, Paul Wilson, said: “We are getting some amazing feedback from the Singing for Wellness sessions we’ve held since we started them in January. One woman lives in a home with three landings and has a chair on each landing so she can get her breath back when she’s going upstairs. When she comes to the choir, she can do all the stairs without having to sit down.
“Sadly, we know there are quite a few people who could really benefit from coming to the Singing for Wellness choirs, but they are still very nervous, which is completely understandable. We’d love more people to come along, have a cuppa, meet new people, and see how singing might help them.”
The Honiton sessions are held on Mondays from 1:30pm until 3:30pm at Honiton Family Church. No singing experience is needed, and the sessions are ‘pay what you feel’, with £5 suggested.