One of our most long-standing funding commitments at Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity is support for the creative activities of rb&hArts. You might wonder why we think it’s important to provide core funds for an arts programme.

The first thing to recognise is that many RBH patients spend considerable time at our hospitals. Only a minority of this is spent in treatment, so programmes that help keep their minds and bodies active are really important to them. They increase wellbeing, reduce feelings of loneliness and create a constructive distraction from stress. This is particularly true for young people who – as I wrote last month – have to deal not only with the challenges of poor health, but also disruption to their education. Activities like Vocal Beats – a singing and beatboxing project for children and young people – make a huge difference.

The hospital environment also matters if you’re spending a long time (or a short one, actually). rb&hArts manages a collection of almost 1,200 artworks and regularly displays these around the hospitals’ clinical spaces and wards. The team recently worked to make sure the brand new Diagnostic Centre at Royal Brompton is an attractive space for patients (as well, of course, as highly functional), which included co-creating a new visual artwork for the Paediatric waiting room with young patients from the hospital Youth Forum. rb&hArts is also a champion of green initiatives and works to transform outdoor spaces – a particular feature of Harefield Hospital – for the benefit of patients.

But the impact of the rb&hArts programme doesn’t stop there. They also design programmes – such as Singing for Breathing – which have significant health benefits. Over 100 patients each year benefit from a project designed to improve control of breathing to help them manage chronic respiratory conditions.

I am delighted that last week, our charity’s Trustees took the decision to grant £175,000 to make sure this work can continue for another year. I am sure you will agree it’s money well spent.

Thank you for your support, now and always.