A NEW singing group is helping people with breathing conditions to hit a new high note with their healthcare.

Community nurse Jill Haves and physiotherapist Vicky Cashmore, from Dorset HealthCare’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Service, set up Breathless & Co last November after researching other successful singing support groups in the UK.

Jill said: “It’s not just open to those with breathing conditions, but also to family members and friends who support to the group.

“It’s a social and relaxed form of support, removed from the clinical associations of rehabilitation.”

The sessions are run by Brian Hemsworth for people living with a variety of breathing conditions, from severe asthma to chronic respiratory disease.

Although there is currently no scientific research that proves the benefits of singing in relation to breathing, Brian, who himself has an asbestos related industrial disability, has found numerous health, as well as social, benefits of singing.

Brian said: “We welcome people of all singing abilities – even if they think they can’t sing. Many people have good singing voices but they don’t know how to use them – it’s all about confidence.”

Louise Macpherson from Bournemouth comes along with her parents because she enjoys the group.

“My dad has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and this group has really made a difference.

“He is not getting chest infections all the time like he used to and he’s not as breathless because he is learning to breathe more efficiently.”

The classes are organised around a 20 set song selection, chosen specifically for the methods and breathing techniques they require.

Breathless & Co meets every Friday, from 2pm to 4pm at Hamworthy Library.

For more information, email Brian at brysings@virginmedia.com For more details about the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Service, people are asked to call 01202 443738.