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Health

Music ‘in the bag’ for north Cumbria’s hospitals

[A] grant to enable the use of music to elevate patients’ moods and improve wellbeing while in hospital has been secured.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust’s Healing Arts project has bagged £6,000 from Tesco’s Bags of Help community grant scheme

A total of £4,000 will pay for a piano for the café area at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, for anyone to play, and two musicians who will visit to perform for staff, patients and visitors, starting in September this year. At the Trust’s other hospital, the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, a Singing for Breathing programme has also received £2,000. The programme helps patients with lung conditions strengthen their breathing muscles and allows them more concentrated and deeper breathing to benefit their physical health.

Chris Bowman, respiratory nurse at the Trust said: “We are delighted to run the Singing for Breathing sessions and it is a great way of helping people with lung conditions gain control of their breathing in a fun and friendly way.”

Susie Tate, healing arts coordinator at the Trust, said: “This money will make the hospital come alive with music. The benefits of using the arts, and music in particular, for patient healing and mental wellbeing is well documented.

“I can’t wait to get the project started and see the reaction from patients, visitors and staff at the hospital.”

Tesco’s Bags of Help is run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, and sees grants raised from the sale of carrier bags awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, it has provided more than £52 million to over 16,000 local community projects. Voting ran in stores throughout March and April with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the checkout.

Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups each time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions are awarded funding.

Alec Brown, Tesco’s Head of Community, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers. It’s such a special scheme because it’s local people who decide how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”

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