Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Group
Monday 14th August 2023
For many, exercise and day-to-day living are tasks carried out without a second thought. However, for those grappling with respiratory problems like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), even simple tasks such as a gentle walk, gardening or housework can become arduous, often necessitating frequent breaks to catch a breath.
Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS) was approached in 2016 to establish a group for COPD as part of a research project by Coventry University and funded by the local Clinical Commissioning Group.
The goal was to establish a community clinic with clinical input to reduce visits to GPs and hospitals, providing a supportive environment for those grappling with COPD to learn about their condition and how to manage symptoms. The group members chose the name "Happy Breathers," reflecting their mission to create a space not only for learning but also for socialising and fun. Despite the undeniable success of the group in terms of improved health and well-being of its attendees, securing continuous funding has always been a challenge. However, with the support of various organisations such as Active Lincolnshire, Co-op, Ivo Day Centre charity, and the Chosen charity, they have been able to keep the group operational since 2016.
Despite these challenges, the Happy Breathers group has seen tremendous support from various volunteers and organisations, making the journey a true team effort. However, with falling numbers and the current funding set to run out in September, it has been decided with heavy hearts to close the group. Those currently attending will be offered support from the LCVS Social Prescribing team to identify other groups and activities that could replace their weekly Happy Breathers session.
Suzanne Willis, Project Lead of Happy Breathers Group says “I would personally like to thank everyone who has ever been involved with Happy Breathers, from the attendees to the professionals who added vibrancy and interest to the group's gatherings. It has been a real team effort. First and foremost, I want to thank Nick Blake from the CCG (now Integrated Care Board) and David Fannin from LCVS for their unwavering support and belief in our mission. Their guidance and encouragement have been invaluable in navigating the challenges we faced. A special shoutout goes to Sue from the Ivo Centre, whose support over the years, her dedication and passion for our cause have made a significant difference. I am incredibly fortunate to have had a team of wonderful volunteers, Mags, Sheila, and Pat. They have consistently been there for us, offering their time, expertise, and unwavering support. Without their dedication and commitment, our achievements would not have been possible. I want to extend a heartfelt and special thanks to Ray Pawlett from Ki-ways. His presence during the pandemic and beyond has been a lifeline for our group. Ray's expertise in Tai Chi has brought a unique dimension to our activities, and his support has been a driving force in keeping the group united and motivated. I am deeply grateful to all these exceptional individuals for their unwavering support and collaboration. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart”.
The group plans to conclude its journey with a celebratory afternoon tea and music on their last day, Thursday, 28 September. Everyone ever involved with the group, be it as a COPD patient, a companion, or a healthcare professional, is warmly invited to attend. However, they're kindly requested to confirm their presence to ensure enough cake for everyone. It will be a fitting opportunity to reminisce and catch up with all who have shared in the Happy Breathers' journey.