Press Release

14 June 2011

A new study into the value of group singing for people with lung disease is to be undertaken by researchers at Canterbury Christ Church University, thanks to a grant of 130,000 pounds from the Dunhill Medical Trust.

Pilot singing group in Folkestone
Pilot singing group in Folkestone

The University’s Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, along with the help of Kent NHS professionals and GPs, are now looking for anyone with chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) willing to take part in this innovative work by joining singing groups.

The groups will be set up in Ashford, Deal, Dover, Ramsgate and Whitstable and will meet once a week for a year. The health and wellbeing of the singers will be carefully monitored, with the researchers looking for signs of physical or emotional changes to the participants that can be attributed to the activity.

Professor Stephen Clift, Research Director of the University’s Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, said: “There is some evidence from pilot studies that regular group singing can be beneficial for people with breathing difficulties. People have reported improved wellbeing, needing less medication, fewer trips to hospital, sleeping better and feeling less isolated.

“Our project will be the first large scale study in the community to test these ideas scientifically. We are very grateful to the Dunhill Medical Trust for the funding to make this study possible, and for the support we have received from NHS professionals in Kent.”

Jean Fraser has severe COPD and is also a member of the steering group for the research project. She said: “I am really excited about this project which is great news for all people with lung disease in Kent.

“Singing together lifts the spirit, forms friendships, and if it does indeed also help us with our breathing, then it will improve our quality of life and help prevent hospital admissions. We all feel very enthusiastic about starting singing in the new groups and ask anyone with COPD to join us in this significant study.”

Singing groups should begin in mid-September.  Anyone with COPD interested in joining can contact Isobel Salisbury in the Sidney De Haan Centre on 01303 242031.  No previous experience of singing is needed and friends and partners are also welcome to join in.

For more information on the Sidney De Haan Centre for Arts and Health go to:

Professor Stephen Clift is available for interviews, to arrange please call Jeanette Earl, Canterbury Christ Church University’s Media Relations Officer, on 01227 782391.

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 18,000 students, and five campuses across Kent, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional expertise.

  • In 2010 the Faculty of Education received top grades in its Ofsted report for its primary, secondary and post-compulsory programmes, together with its employment-based routes into teaching. The University’s primary provision has the unique record of having been awarded the highest Ofsted grades in all inspections since 1996.
  • Over 90 per cent of our graduates gain employment or are in further study in the first six months after graduating.
  • Along with over a thousand undergraduate, postgraduate and professional training courses on offer, we are also home to world-leading and internationally recognised research in Education, History, Music and Sports Related Studies.
  • Canterbury Christ Church University was founded in 1962 by the Church of England as a teacher training college.

 Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health

The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health is internationally recognised for its commitment to researching the potential value of music, and other participative arts activities, in the promotion of well-being and health of individuals and communities.

The Folkestone-based Centre has recently completed a systematic review of research on singing and health, conducted a cross-national survey of choral singers in Australia, England and Germany, and undertaken a formative evaluation of the 'Silver Song Club Project' run by Sing For Your Life Ltd.

Currently, the Centre is undertaking further research on singing for the well-being and health of older people, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease patients and people with enduring health problems.

The Dunhill Medical Trust

The Dunhill Medical Trust is a grant-making charitable company limited by guarantee (company no. 7472301; charity no. 1140372).  DMT welcomes high quality grant applications which fall within its charitable objects, particularly those within the following areas: care of older people, including rehabilitation and palliative care; and research into the causes and treatments of disease, disability and frailty related to ageing. 

The Dunhill Medical Trust is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and a recognised charity partner of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

For further information:  E-mail:



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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:14:00