A NEW pilot scheme is being launched to encourage people to sing to improve their health and wellbeing.

York Hospital is pioneering the three-month wellbeing choir project, which will be launched in January, and is open to staff, patients, visitors and residents.

Jessica Sharp, art and design project coordinator at York Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust, said studies showed singing in a choir had positive effects on physical and mental health.

“Singing increases the level of ‘happiness hormones’ endorphin, oxytocin and serotonin which also increase pain-tolerance thresholds, helping people suffering chronic pain or illnesses. These benefits are boosted in a group setting, compared to singing alone. The wellbeing choir will offer a relaxed session suitable for all abilities. We hope to provide opportunities for people to socialise, and most importantly, to feel good and have fun.”

The choir will be led by Nicola Betts, community musician, music teacher and singer, and the pilot starts on January 9.

Details from 01904 725265 or email jessica.sharp@york.nhs.uk