A successful singing group for people with lung and breathing difficulties is expanding across the borough by starting sessions in Leigh.
The newly-established Leigh Warblers group will be a spin-off from the current Wigan Warblers set up and will allow people with conditions ranging from COPD to severe asthma to enjoy the benefits of music in an informal setting.
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Natasha Liddle from the Warblers will lead the group after Delia Clarke, a Leigh respiratory nurse, suggested the concept might work well in the town.
The group has been awarded £10,000 from The Deal at Wigan Council to get up and running and the first session at the Bridgewater Medical Centre will be on April 12.
Natasha said: “We’ve had a few people in the borough showing an interest in setting up a Warblers group in Leigh.
“They wanted to look at the different things we can do with health and breathing.
“I will be helping them with extension and breathing and we will also do some exercises, yoga and mindfulness. We will also have Delia dropping in to check how they are doing and offer respiratory readings.
“The other benefit of the group is the friendships formed and the lovely support network it offers.
“Anybody with a long-term condition is welcome. I suffer from chronic pain and the group has really helped me reduce the amount of medication I use.
“The group picks the music and it’s not at all strict. We have backing tracks but there are instruments available if anybody wants to play.”
The Leigh Warblers will meet at the Old Henry Street venue on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.
Since setting up around two years ago the Wigan Warblers has proved a massive success, with the singers invited to major health conferences and Natasha even heading to Milan in Italy to showcase the benefits of community singing for people with lung and breathing conditions.
The new Leigh group is also being fully backed by the local authority.
Professor Kate Ardern, Wigan Council’s director for public health, said: “I am so pleased that the success of the Wigan Warblers has meant they are now expanding into Leigh.
“Singing in a group is a fantastic way to exercise the heart and lungs as well as contribute to good mental health, reduce isolation and loneliness and improve overall well-being.
“I would certainly encourage anyone in Leigh who is interested to try it out.”
The Leigh Warblers sessions run from 11am until 1pm. For more information search for the group on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @WiganWarblers