A Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy programme for young people is the latest development in Gloucestershire’s growing and nationally recognised Social Prescribing programme.

NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group has teamed up with Breathe Arts Health Research to offer an ‘Easter Camp’ for local people aged between 7 and 18 affected by *hemiplegia and quadriplegia.

Seven local children have been involved in the first phase of the programme which uses specially chosen magic tricks to help children with the conditions.

Taught by professional Magic Circle magicians and occupational therapists, the programme offers 60 hours of one to one therapy over a 10 day camp, where Breathe combine the learning of carefully chosen magic tricks with a focus on everyday activities such as cutting up food, or crafts.

The aim is to significantly improve the young peoples’ hand function, social interaction, confidence and independence over the course of the programme – and it works.

The camp which started in Gloucestershire on 8 April will culminate in a special Magic Show involving the young people on Thursday evening (18 April) at the Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham Ladies College.

Director of Service Transformation at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Ellen Rule said:

“We were really excited to see what Breathe Arts Health Research could offer and were thrilled that they were able to come to Gloucestershire thanks in large part to the generous fundraising support of local businesses.

The feedback we have received so far has been so positive and heart-warming and we are keen to explore how we can build on this going forward.”

Gloucestershire is leading the way nationally in using innovative arts and crafts initiatives to empower and support people with long term health conditions.

This can take many forms, but common benefits include an increase in confidence and personal skills, improved wellbeing and in many cases less reliance on health and care services.

Interim Director of Breathe Arts Health Research, Rosie Dow said:

“We know that Gloucestershire is very much a leading light in using arts and recreation to improve the health and wellbeing of residents and it is great that this is benefitting people of all ages.

It has been a joy and a pleasure to have delivered the Breathe Magic programme in Gloucestershire and to see the young people blossom and gain so much from the camp – physically, emotionally and socially. We are very much looking forward to the Magic Show finale and showing their families and friends just how far they have come.”

Sarah Birmingham, Head of Children’s and Young Peoples Services at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, said:

“We are delighted to work with Breath Arts Health Research and the Clinical Commissioning Group in providing this exciting opportunity for young people. The programme will help develop independence and increase self-confidence, while being delivered in a fun and creative learning environment.”

The programme has been jointly funded by NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and *local businesses.