Breathing Space is a community asset model that actively promotes self-referral for those living with respiratory disease – specifically Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).Breathing Space logo

As the provider of this service, Northamptonshire Carers offers a holistic experience to service users, going beyond their immediate healthcare needs, providing access to clinical expertise in a comfortable and inclusive environment. Fortnightly sessions empower individuals to take control of their health and wellbeing, providing regular access to clinical advice from a GP or specialist practitioners and wider wellbeing support with relaxation, healthy eating, getting active, self-management, and emotional support for the practicalities of everyday living.

At the height of the pandemic, Breathing Space switched quickly to a virtual offering with groups via Zoom, peer support by WhatsApp groups and one-to one befriending calls for those isolated. The service also delivered wellbeing boxes to isolated members and provided emergency support in accessing food and essential supplies where needed. As restrictions allowed, Breathing Space met outdoors utilising country parks. The service has also supported the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, ensuring that members had accurate information and volunteers at the Vaccination Centre in Moulton Park.

Breathing Space has taken the positives from its return to in-person indoor groups, embedding change into service model delivery to offer a wider menu of services. The team are working with leisure centres to offer improved exercise for member, with increased breathlessness related to lack of exercise during lockdown having been noted.

Virtual elements are being incorporated to allow speakers to easily access all groups and the Empowered Patient Programme can be delivered online as well as in person. New services such as opera singing breathing exercise will continue and activities such as county park visits can be shared with long COVID groups. Breathing Space is also now developing a blended befriending service for those with respiratory disease – aimed directly at assisting them to build back confidence after social isolation, to build back wellbeing through exercise, to enable inclusiveness and equity through reengagement within the community, and to place a more targeted focus on addressing health inequalities.

Looking forward, Breathing Space is working to support with managing pressures in the wider health and care system.

Breathing Space service user testimonials

“These classes and exercises have helped me manage my shortness of breath and made a dramatic recovery difference in my recovery from long COVID. I can’t recommend this enough!”

“Thank you for a wonderful class today. I feel I got more out of the hour we spent with you today than I’ve got from weeks of physical therapy and occupational therapy for my long COVID. I’m looking forward to the next session already!”