A local GP and board member of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been using a unique method to help ease health problems in the form of a local choir.
Dr Simon Frampton, who is based at Ormskirk Medical Practice, has been helping people sing their way to health with a choir aimed at those with respiratory or cardiac disease, mild memory impairment, mental health issues and other health problems.
The SkyLarks choir, held at Brookside in Ormskirk, is made up of 80 members with different health issues and meets once a week.
Thanks to a grant from Lancashire County Council, the choir members have been able to start a second choir in Preston. They also have plans to start another two in Lancashire over the next few months.
Dr Frampton, GP executive lead at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “As a GP and member of the Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board, I am keenly aware of the medical benefits of singing. Singing delivers a host of physical and emotional benefits, including increased aerobic exercise, improved breathing, posture, mindset, confidence and self-esteem.”
Marie Burke is a resident at Brookside and has been part of the choir since the very beginning. She said: “I was looking for new activities to take part in and when I spotted the choir I thought it would be a great way to meet new people. We’ve just celebrated our first birthday as a choir and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
“At the choir we sing a variety of songs and have recently been trying out some modern songs. Our teacher Jane is fantastic and makes the class lots of fun. Singing in a group is a wonderful feeling and no matter whether you are good or bad, it makes a lovely sound.”
Tom McDonald from Burscough, attends the choir every week, he said: “I go to the choir every week and have never missed a session. I have been really impressed with the improvement I have seen in some of the people that attend who have health problems. Singing really is good for your health.”
Jackie Sutton, Locality Commissioning Manager at Lancashire County Council said: “We are delighted the choir has been such a hit with local residents and are pleased to have been able to provide additional funding to expand this work.”
The choir was established to help individuals with health issues but is also open to anyone and everyone. The choir is now looking for more funding in order to continue this valuable community resource, which is not only enjoyable but also has major health benefits.
If you would like to know more about the choir, please contact Jane Swarbick at firstname.lastname@example.org.