People who attend our group sessions tell us about the ways in which they are benefitting. We regularly receive such heart-warming feedback – some of which we would like to share with you here!

I haven’t seen the group this animated for months!” (The Sheringham Stroke Support Club).

“Good song selection/concept behind song selection.  Audience interaction with percussion instruments was good and use of props.  Good to see resident engagement and smiles on their faces!” (Care worker, The Danbury Unit, Halsey House, Cromer).

The session was useful because “I  realised I am not breathing deeply enough!” (Participant, Breathe Easy – Sheringham Support Group for people living with lung/respiratory conditions).

When asked why our participant had said the session was “Brilliant!” on our feedback form, they answered “It was just all so unexpectedly interactive and fantastic!” (The Friday Group, North Walsham).

Playing for Cake session
Participants and organiser of The Friday Group, North Walsham enjoying a Playing for Cake session and our songbooks!

The most useful part of the session was that “we could all sing together” (Participant, The Friday Group, North Walsham).

Brings people together and gets them communicating more” (Participant, Breathe Easy – Sheringham support group for people living with lung/respiratory conditions).

The session was good because “we could all join in with the musical instruments” and “it made me feel happy” (Participant, The Friday Group, North Walsham).

The organiser of the Alzheimer’s Society support group in Fakenham said that our session really made a difference to their morning.  He said the “session in Fakenham last week was amazing. It left the group with a real buzz. We discussed the session in the debrief meeting and it seems that everyone with Dementia joined in at some point, which is so good to hear!”

People with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have told us they finding the sessions really helpful and I’ve been humbled by their personal stories, challenges and their courage! It’s fabulous to see them doing so well and I’m so glad we’re having the opportunity to be part of their journey towards better times ahead!

This is the testimonial one of them gave me to share with you all:
“Following a tragic life event, I was left with quite serious health issues; mainly PTSD and anxiety issues, which have been compounded by my existing COPD.
With the support and help from my wife initially, we discovered Playing for Cake, a commmunity interest group of musicians that work on a not-for-profit bases to provide interactive music sessions to promote better health and wellbeing.
One thing I liked was their friendly approach and ability to make you feel very welcome.
I find the experience a great help for my conditions. We attend the sessions on a regular basis.
I would recommend Playing for Cake for people who suffer from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, beathing difficulties, PTSD and loneliness, who would benefit from joining in with others who have similar conditions to improve their health, wellbeing and social life while having fun.”
Thank you so much AP, North Norfolk! 🙂

“I first heard of PFC through a friend who had become involved in the running of the various PFC sessions. At that time I was just emerging from a very dark phase in my life, and still struggling on a daily basis with depression and anxiety. I will admit that I strongly resisted all of his encouragement to attend the Wednesday music session at the Sheringham Little Theatre Hub because, despite being prescribed medication, I still found it extremely difficult some days to even step out of the house, let alone socialise – and much less – sing! The thought of it quite frankly horrified me.

However, over time I finally had to admit to myself that medication alone could not ‘cure’ me, and sitting home alone watching TV was not helping my mental or physical health at all. So reluctantly one dark, December afternoon, I went along with him. For a few sessions I found it difficult to even to talk to anyone, but Tina always made a point of making me feel welcome and over time I slowly started to join in with the singing, quietly at first, and then with more confidence.   To my surprise I actually began to look forward to the sessions. I discovered a social life, and have even begun to volunteer behind the scenes.

I can honestly say that PFC has played a major part in improving my mental health and enhancing my life. Even when I don’t feel that great, I go along and am always lifted by the genuinely warm and jovial atmosphere. I’ve made new friends, have found more confidence in myself, and rediscovered how much I love to sing.”

Thank you so much ‘A. Nonny Mouse’.  You’re very welcome!  We are glad to be contributing to your own personal journey – thanks for contributing to ours (and others who attend the groups!).

Makes carers happy as well as our loved ones” (Group participant, North Norfolk).

“My husband hasn’t been able to speak on the ‘phone for months but he ‘phoned his brother this week!” (Wife of participant with Parkinson’s, North Walsham Skylarks group).

“I’ve just celebrated my 83rd birthday. Until about 2005 when I was 70 my health was reasonably good. I enjoyed singing and had sung in church choirs and performed in amateur drama. Then I began to have problems with my throat and developed a paralyzed vocal chord together with a dodgy parathyroid gland which had to be removed by surgery.

These problems caused me difficulties in singing and speaking and swallowing. Speaking became a problem because of the difficulties of learning how and when to breathe, I developed various techniques in swallowing and breathing. I would easily run out of breath when talking to anyone and for five months I was unable to swallow and fed myself through a tube!

Then in February this year a friend mentioned that the British Lung Foundation held support meetings in our local Community Centre in Sheringham. I went along one afternoon and met Tina Blaber-Wegg who leads a singing group once a week for anyone experiencing lung problems of any kind which were sponsored by the B L F. I sat in that first session where we carried out simple relaxation and exercises and singing and I enjoyed it so much that began to attend her group throughout much of the year until the end of August when my wife and I decided to re-locate back to Sussex to be nearer our family. I shall miss these sessions very much and hope I can find a similar one there. Tina is an excellent teacher, she brings much enthusiasm and pleasure and above all, fun!. I have found myself singing a varied reportoire from Nancy Sinatra’s “These boots are made for walking” and Tom Jone’s “Why why Delilah” (I got the group to sing Jemima!) to Bob Dillon and Glen Miller, sea shanties and music hall songs! And all this for just a donation of £3 per week!

Tina’s group is attended by people of all ages, one gentleman is 91, one lady has Parkinson’s and one lady plays the violin, another the guitar, it’s a very varied lovely group of very friendly people. And sometimes we have cake at the end!

But the main advantage to me has been the vast improvement in my speaking since joining Tina’s group every Friday afternoon. My family have been amazed at the improvement I have made.

My consultant referred me to a speech therapist who on learning that I attended this group said that it was the best therapy I could have done! The consultant agreed and tells me that the paralyzed chord has begun to compensate and grow! I cannot praise or recommend Tina’s singing group enough, she has improved my life immensely. Thank-you Tina and the British Lung Foundation.”

RB, Singing for Health group (Fridays, Sheringham Community Centre), 26th August 2018

In January 2005 I contracted pneumonia and was admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. I stayed in intensive care for a week, followed by 3 weeks on the wards. As I learned to walk again, recovery seemed a long way ahead.

I had been diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and also diabetes Type 2 and Psoriasis.  My doctor recommended the Breathe Easy Support Group at Sheringham, which I joined and I did the rehab course (organised by the Respiratory Care Team at Kelling Hospital).  From there I progressed to attending weekly gym sessions and monthly support meetings.

It was suggested to me to attend Playing for Cake sessions on Fridays to sing.  Seeing as I had last sung when I was young in the church choir, I didn’t hold out much hope! But then I met Tina and the crew and everything seemed to open up for me. Not only did Tina assure me that I did have a voice but that it would be good for me and my breathing.  And so it proved me wrong and my confidence has grown so much that I now play ukulele on Mondays and also at the Hub for Wednesday ‘Mid-Week Music’ sessions

So in 4 years from nothing to being busy most of the week, I have made many friends and gained a voice!!

M.R., Cromer, May 2019.