Press Release

26 March 2013

Canterbury Christ Church University's Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health has been awarded £140,800 to expand their highly successful 'Singing for Health' programme to a wider audience.

The funding has been provided by NHS Kent and Medway Public Health, NHS Kent and Medway Adult Mental Health through the NHS Plan, Do, Study and Act Fund (PDSA).

It will help expand the community singing initiative that was originally provided for mental health service users in east Kent. The project will first expand to north and west Kent and Medway with the aim to provide evidence that the original study in east Kent can be successful in different settings and populations. If successful it is hoped that it will then be rolled-out nationally.

The original study in 2009 produced a network of choirs throughout east Kent for people with a history of serious and enduring mental health issues, and proved to be a great success. Research conducted during the project showed clinically significant improvements, over eight months, in the mental health well-being of the members. Singing together helped people feel happier, better connected with others, and built confidence. It also reduced distressing symptoms and problems and aided the recovery of the service users.  

Dr Ian Morrison, Senior Research Fellow for the Centre, led the east Kent study, he said: “Evidence from our first study showed that regular group singing can be clinically beneficial for people with mental health issues, as well as reaping social benefits and enjoying peer support. It was very encouraging that the participants wanted the groups to continue after the research had finished, and we feel that group singing is a cost-effective health promotion strategy for people with mental health issues.

"The project was the first large scale community study to test these ideas with questionnaires that NHS clinical staff used to assess the level of a person’s mental distress. We are very grateful to the NHS Eastern and Coastal PCT for providing the original funding for the east Kent study, and for the support we have received from NHS professionals in east Kent. We are looking forward to continuing the project thanks to the help of NHS Kent and Medway Public Health, NHS Kent and Medway Adult Mental Health.

“An additional benefit of the new study is that a formal NHS referral scheme will be put in place throughout Kent, which will encourage participation and help the singing groups to grow and sustain themselves.”

The NHS will refer people to the new groups once they are ready to start, but anyone wishing to join the existing groups in east Kent can contact Isobel Salisbury at the Sidney de Haan Research Centre on 01303 220870. No previous experience of singing is needed and friends and partners are also welcome to join in.

For more information about singing for health and the Sidney de Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health visit:


Notes to Editor

Notes to Editor:

  • Dr Ian Morrison and Professor Stephen Clift are available for interviews. Please contact Canterbury Christ Church University’s Assistant Media Relations Officer, Holly Finch, to arrange on 01227 783528.


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 mental health problems.


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 20,000 students, across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 93% of our recent UK undergraduates are in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • Christ Church is the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2011 UCAS).
  • We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).

*2010/11 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey





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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:16:00