Thursday, July 4, 2013
A charity that brings smiles to the faces of hundreds of people across the West of England and South Wales has been forced to reduce the number of singing and activity sessions that it delivers.
At the quarterly Trustees Meeting held in Bath this week the decision was made that in future the charity could not sustain its weekly programme of singing sessions.
Chair of Trustees Dr Jenny Smerdon explained;
“In this current economic climate obtaining funding is becoming increasingly difficult and competition to obtain support from the larger trusts and philanthropic organisations is much greater. We have been forced to realise that there simply is not enough money to distribute.
“Over the last 18 months we have launched Goldies Cymru in South Wales. From an initial two sessions this has grown to 12 with requests for another 20 during 2014. We have also added popular new sessions across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Hampshire.
“However, these are all monthly sessions and of course there is a huge difference between asking an organisation to support the costs of 12 monthly sessions as opposed to 40 weekly sessions across a year.
“We pay our freelance session leaders and also help with their travel. With costs of music, hall hire, community transport and admin support, a single session can cost on average around £66.”
Bath music man Grenville Jones launched Goldies, as it has become fondly known, in September 2007. Sir Cliff Richard is Patron. The charity has reached out to hundreds of socially isolated people. A University of Bath independent study concluded :
“Without question, Golden-Oldies is having a positive effect on the lives and wellbeing of lonely people.”
The Goldies Board of Trustees comprises accountant Mike Richardson, Dr Afroditi Stathi from the University of Bath, head teachers Rob Parsons and Raymond Friel, community transport manager Ian Head, Bath & North East Somerset Councillor Ben Stevens, business consultant Lorraine Parker, the Reverend Ward Jones, BBC West’s Imogen Sellers and Howard Cunningham-Smith. Helen Wann is volunteer secretary to the Trustees.
During the next few weeks, sessions in Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and across Somerset will change to take place on a regular monthly basis. Sessions such as the monthly BIG SING which takes place at the Carrswood Day Centre in Twerton, bringing together Goldies from across B&NeS will continue. The charity are hoping that support may come forward to enable more BIG SINGS to take place across the West of England.
Last year Goldies attracted a massive public vote to come second in the National Lottery Awards 2012 – educational section. Its schools intergenerational Time after Time programme was described by the Big Lottery as ‘inspirational’.
Goldies founder Grenville Jones added :
“We want to continue with our award-winning Time after Time in schools across the West and in Wales and are currently trying to put funding in place. We know that this project brings together the young and the young at heart with very positive results.
“I am obviously very sad that we have had to make this decision but everyone in the charity sector will understand that sustaining our service is the key factor. A recent questionnaire of 300 of our Goldies clearly showed how our work is highly valued by the elderly people who attend, We can develop and grow with a Goldies model that is based on monthly activity and singing sessions with additional events for our Goldies hosted by their local community school.”
The Goldies website is www.golden-oldies.org.uk with just giving links.
If you would like to help the Golden-Oldies Charity to develop and grow perhaps by making a donation, sponsoring a weekly session or helping as a volunteer driver or fundraiser please contact Jenny Smerdon on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01761 470006.
The photographs shown were all taken at recent Goldies sessions across the South West.
Press enquiries to Grenville Jones on 07778 282934.