Dr Alice Malpass and I ran a workshop in Burnley in November 2017– what a big pleasure! It was for Burnley’s British Lung Foundation Singing For Lung Health group.
We now have some more fantastic Letters to The Breath for our research @lifeofbreath, Bristol University https://naturalvoice.net/ch…/burnley-singing-for-lung-health. 

I am including a wonderful email I received, after the session – thanks so much Janet.Hello Elspeth and Alice,
I met the group again yesterday and got some more feedback. I also have had time to reflect on the session so here goes!
Comments from members written into the leader’s comment book:
A different and interesting way of looking at one’s breath.
An enlightening way to understand better how I breathe.
Enjoyed the day – thank you
It was good to hear that other people have the same problems as me. If we did it more often we could share more positive thoughts and plans.
A very interesting experience. Thank you.
 
Comments from members heard in discussion:
Yes it was good especially hearing each other’s stories.
Why just one day? We need more.
We could have spent a whole afternoon on it.
 
Comments sent to my by email / text:
 There were some very moving comments made at the workshop
It was a lovely experience.
G has been too moved to tell me anything about the art set (from M).
 
My thoughts / reflections:
 
I will write up about the benefit of doing this sort of activity for the other SfLH group leaders around the country. In particular how much it benefited the group dynamics:
I was impressed at how much gravity everyone gave to it. Not that it wasn’t fun – but just that everyone really got into the flow of the activity and gave it their serious consideration.
Everyone got chance to produce something and got positive feedback including claps from the group. Some people who are very quiet in the group had their chance to shine and share as an individual. This may therefore have a knock on effect for group identity and group management – as people learned things about other members that they didn’t know before. Certainly in the first meeting afterwards there were more members chatting before and after the group with some people helpfully arriving a little earlier instead of at the moment that the group starts.
 
There was some very honest sharing about people’s illnesses and how they feel about it. This will certainly help people to support each other more – and indeed the conversation yesterday did relate more to people asking each other how they were in a very genuine way.
 
It was interesting to see people in a different setting. I particularly liked how husband and wife (A and P) interacted: A supported P and gave her lots of positive comments about her letter. I was impressed at how much G shared about his illness – he is usually very jokey and flippant and I realise that this is all a bit of a show when actually it impacts on him much more than he lets on.
 
It clarified relationships because we all took part. T (volunteer) was able to show that he too has breathing difficulties, M was able to point out that although she comes as G’s carer, she too is gaining so much from the group and it is helping her deal with her cancer, I was able to share about my Mum.
 
There did feel to me to be a bit of a pressure of time, but I don’t think the group felt under pressure. There were just 2 comments about wanting more time (included above).
 
We are going to do another half hour or so after next week’s class in order for people to finish off their Christmas tree creations and add them to the tree that will be put in the church for the Christmas tree festival.
 
I think that is all for now.
 
All best wishes and thank you again so much. It has added so much to the group.
Best wishes,
Janet

 

Your comments to my daughter about her writing really helped her, it's great for her to hear that someone gets her.

Mum, North Somerset

Ms Penny! I have to tell y​ou that I have

included your story telling activities, we did that morning in Wales, in a scheme of work here and they have been fabulously effective in highlighting more creative approaches to writing. The other teachers can't get enough of it. Thank you so much. I also did a presentation on creativity in writing recently and included these ideas. 
​Jannita Head of English
I just want to go and look through all my old letters now. Hearing about it just makes me want to know how I can get involved.
Eve  
I heard some of the children talking about your  workshop - they said it was brilliant. They  loved ya! When are you coming to do our class? Bede, 11  

It's chaos at the moment in my life... Another reason why stopping and writing  a letter is so good.

 Anna

Event 

Feedback


Such a great idea. Thanks so much for the opportunity Natalie,  Artist

The children were so  inspired and excited. They have to learn so many formal ways of doing things, they just stop wanting to write. With Scent, they discovered freedom again. It was a breath of fresh air. Can you come back next year?

Primary school teacher, North Somerset

I've suddenly got about about 20 letters I want to write.

Clare

Thanks so much for the Scent event, it was really relaxing and nurturing. 
Jane

More comments on the Facebook page.

Some of the Feedback from our Life of Breath project letters:


"Thanks for such an enabling and creative workshop"
"Thanks for group experience today. I feel at the start of something with it - personally"
"Thank you also to Alice and yourself for your playful and creative workshop on Saturday last."
"May I extend my sincere thanks to you both for all your help and kind support.  Your workshops gave me a wonderful time. "
"Excellent. Very enjoyable and thought provoking."

That was the best literacy class ever!!

9 year old

Your Scent event was intriguing, and brilliant!

Clare, 63

.

James was so enthusiastic about last night at Scouts. You must have really tapped into something there. Apart from talking about it for quite a while and in detail, a sure sign of his enthusiasm, he also said 'I wish she could come again'...! So it's nice to see the pictures and read your post. He told me he did a picture of a tree and other art work. 

Mum, Somerset

I very much enjoyed visiting Penny Brohn’s creative community in Bristol in January 2015
Here is the feedback from the session….


Really enjoyable
Was introduced to some very earthy things
Therapeutic 
Wakes something up in you
Almost a meditation in itself
I was worried about the session and thought you’d bring in nice paper and insist on everything being neat, but it wasn’t like that
I watched your Ted talk and feel honoured that you’re here to talk about it
Lovely energy, really helps relax people. Thank you!

Thanks again for organising the session on Thursday. The Beavers all had a great time, and like you I was really pleased with the scale and quality of what they created. The church display option sounds fun.


I was impressed with the depth of the session. It was really exciting to see the range of material the children could engage with and it made me think we can do more to trust them with potentially complex or messy crafts than we usually do! I thought the opportunity for them to share their work at the end was also a really good way to remind them of the context for the evening. 


Gabriel, Blagdon Beavers leader


A few of the lovely comments about Elspeth's Tedx talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkKDvGA2UU0

​I feel I should be writing this with a battered old fountain pen on a nice bit of paper, but well done, I'm regretting not having kept some of the letters I've been sent and I genuinely feel inspired to write one. Martin


I liked it because I did! fabulous talk! So engaging, and interesting. Well done Elspeth! I will wrote a hand written note to Robyn in
Malawi today!  Anita


Open-hearted Elspeth.

David


I absolutely loved it! I was enthralled all the way through and it made me think of all of the different handwritings I’ve known and loved over the years (I too have held onto a huge amount of letters). It’s so true that you associate friends, loved ones and family with that expressive side which is in their handwriting, and the way some were really concise and others would be 10 sides long, and yes, the heart always quickened when the postman came. Sitting down to write a letter was something you’d look forward to and sometimes dread, depending on the content, but you always took it seriously and you needed time – what a contrast to the way we live our lives now… Thanks for that – and you came across really well; you look lovely! Also did you notice there was a mention of “boff” in there at some point! Keep up the good work xx
Paul


Lots more comments on Facebook...