Walkden and Little Hulton children become BreathStars

14th November 2017

Children of Little Hulton and North Walkden with asthma have been offered a unique opportunity in association with the Hallé to see if singing can help them to breathe better.

A new scheme has been designed by local nurse Heather Henry, who herself has asthma. Heather noticed that the leader of an adult singing for breathing group in Wigan double her lung strength after singing for a year and as a result managed to put off her lung transplant. With the help of the Hallé and Salford-based social enterprise Unlimited Potential, she persuaded Salford Clinical Commissioning Group and the National Lottery to fund a singing group for children with asthma, called BreathStars.

Heather said, “Singing is simple, children love it and our singing teacher, Debbie Prince, makes it a lot of fun too. When I looked into the evidence, I could tell that in adults with lung problems it strengthens the breathing muscles, reduces anxiety and builds confidence. All these things could reduce asthma symptoms and mean fewer visits to the doctor or time off school”

Naomi Benn, Head of Ensembles at the Hallé said, “Heather wrote to us about the idea and we immediately offered our help. We have lots of experience of working with children and can share breathing exercises that will help them to sing better. Debbie encourages the children to sing the songs they know and love, does things like tongue twisters and makes everyone laugh.”

Heather is looking for new members aged 7-12 on a brown (preventer) inhaler so she knows that the child has asthma, as inhalers are sometimes given for other reasons. BreathStars is targeted at children living in Little Hulton and North Walkden, is free of charge and meets weekly during term-time every Wednesday 4pm till 5pm at Little Hulton Library.

For more info, please contact heather.henry(@)unlimitedpotential.org.uk