University research recognised as a national lifesaver

16 May 2019

The work of Canterbury Christ Church University’s Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health has been recognised for their exceptional contribution to keeping the nation healthy.

The Centre has been named as one of the Nation’s Lifesavers, as part of Universities UK’s MadeAtUni campaign, recognising the top 100 individuals or groups based in universities whose work is saving lives and making a life-changing difference to our health and wellbeing.

For more than a decade the Sidney De Haan Research Centre has been researching the health and mental wellbeing benefits of singing and health Recent research has focused on how singing can help improve the lives of people Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).



According to the British Lung Foundation, 1.2 million people are living with diagnosed COPD in the UK, making it the second most common lung disease in the country after asthma.

Research by the Centre study has looked at the impact of singing on groups of people with COPD in Lambeth and Southwark, South London and East Kent. Their findings showed that regular singing helped to improve the participants’ social and psychological wellbeing, as well helped to modify breathing patterns and reduce breathlessness.

Now important new research is about to be conducted to assess the benefits of regular group singing for people with COPD in Medway.

Researchers from Canterbury Christ Church University’s Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health will work with Medway Community Healthcare Respiratory Team and academics from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Kent, on this new project and are seeking local residents to take part.

Professor Stephen Clift, Director of the Sidney De Haan Centre, said:

“It is an honour to feature as one of the Nation’s Lifesavers for our work on the benefits of community singing groups for people with COPD. The MadeAtUni campaign is a great chance to celebrate the many ways universities are having a significant impact on our everyday lives.”

“COPD is a major health issue in the UK, affecting many people. Standard medical treatments can help ease the symptoms but there is no cure for this condition. Difficulties with breathing can also lead people to feel anxious and depressed and feel socially isolated. An activity like regular group singing may help to address psychological and social consequences of the illness and may help people to better manage their breathing difficulties.”

The Nation’s Lifesavers are fighting diseases, helping new parents and children enjoy the best start in life, supporting older people and improving our mental health and wellbeing.

Universities from across the country were invited to nominate an individual or group who has made a significant contribution to the nation’s health and wellbeing. Over 100 universities from Plymouth to Dundee submitted a nomination.

Professor Dame Janet Beer, President Universities UK, said: “When people think of lifesavers they tend to focus on the dedication and skill of our doctors, nurses, carers, and paramedics – many of whom are trained at universities. Every day, up and down the country, universities are also working on innovations to transform and save lives. Research taking place in universities is finding solutions to so many of the health and wellbeing issues we care about and the causes that matter.

“By proudly working in partnership with charities, the NHS and healthcare organisations, universities are responsible for some of our biggest health breakthroughs and in revolutionising the delivery of care.

“This campaign is a chance to bring to life the wonderful and often unexpected work going on every day in our universities and to celebrate some of the people working to make a life-changing difference to the nation.”

Research shows the public are proud of UK universities but have little understanding of the benefits they bring, with most not being aware that UK academics are behind many of the discoveries that save lives and keep up healthy. The MadeAtUni campaign gives the public an insight into some of this work and celebrates those who made it happen. More information on the campaign can be found on the dedicated website:

People with COPD in Medway who are interested in taking part, or would like to attend a taster session in May and June, can obtain further details from Di White, Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health on 07515 191 712 or email:

Notes to editors

 About the Britain Thinks research

Britain Thinks polled 2,063 UK adults online between 30 May and 31 May 2018. Data was weighted to be representative of all UK adults.

Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with 16,000 students across Kent and Medway. Its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • Over 94% of our UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2015/16 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey




Connect with us

Last edited: 24/05/2019 13:44:00