The Cheyne Gang was created by 3 Practice Nurses in Edinburgh who all have an interest in respiratory medicine and who all sing in choirs.
Recognising the physical, mental and social benefits of singing in a community group and having carried out some research themselves with funding from The Queen’s Nursing Institute for Scotland (QNIS) they decided to set up singing for breathing groups. This offers thealth benefits to, not only their own patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, Bronchiectasis and Pulmonary Fibrosis, but also as many people as they could reach across Edinburgh.
This all began in 2013 and since then The Cheyne Gang has grown from one group with 8 members to 5 groups across Edinburgh and 1 in the Scottish Borders with over 80 members.
They now have Scottish charitable status and continue to fundraise and seek grants to keep all their groups functioning as their members have noted positive effects on their health including improved breath control, fewer flare ups, better sleep, reduced anxiety and some are even needing less medication.
They say they have been fortunate to have won two awards for their efforts and achieved national lottery funding last year that has helped expand their reach.
They also obtained a grant from Creative Scotland to develop and deliver a Singing for Breathing course last year to create more specialist voice coaches who will be able to set up similar groups throughout Scotland.
This was well received and already two of their new coaches are running Singing for Breathing groups. They want to continue with their quest to get the NHS to recognise the value of singing for breathing and also singing for health in general as they know there are benefits for those with dementia, low mood, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and any number of other conditions where people are disabled, isolated or lonely.
You can find out more details about them on their website www.thecheynegang.com, follow them on Facebook and Twitter or go along to one of their sessions held in Stockbridge Lifecare Centre, Greyfriars Charteris Centre, Colinton Mains Parish Church, Leith Community Centre or Innerleithen to see what they are all about (full details and contact info are on their website).