Tuesday August 4, 2015
With a song at its heart
Our images show Goldies CYMRU at recent sessions in Adamsdown and Torfaen.
A charity that puts singing and smiles at the heart of all it does is taking off across Wales.
Goldies Cymru or quite simply “Goldies,” organises daytime singing and activity sessions for older people. They are all based on the popular tunes of the 60s and onwards.
Goldies Cymru launched in Wales four years ago with just two sessions. By the end of this year that number is expected to reach 50 with more planned for 2016.
Cardiff Councillor for Pentwyn ward, Councillor Judith Woodman is a member of a Wales-based management board that is leading the work of the charity forward across Wales.
“It is important to understand that our charity, Goldies is NOT a choir,” she said. “However the popular formula for singing along to the memory-evoking hits from Tom Jones, Petula Clark and Elvis, brings such joy at the sessions, you can almost touch the happiness!”
The charity has just launched a project to encourage people to be GOLDEN VOLUNTEERS. Programme Leader for Wales Rachel Parry explains;
“We want to attract older more active people to adopt their local Goldies session, to go along each month and help the session leader with simple very important tasks such as tea making, putting out the chairs, helping with the songs books AND singing along with our Goldies.”
Goldies Cymru has gained many high profile supporters s including Lottery Wales, The Rest Grant Scheme Cardiff and the Moondance Foundation.
There are many partnerships with others who support the elderly. These include the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation. There are now 38 monthly sessions across Wales. These include Cardiff, Torfaen, Swansea, Ammanford, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taff, with plans for more in the months ahead.
Goldies Cymru employs 8 enthusiastic session leaders. Carol Pegler is one, she takes 10 sessions around Torfaen and Caerphilly.
“I simply love Goldies . There are so many lonely older people with very little to brighten their lives. For many for the people I see, Goldies is one of the few time they get to enjoy the company of other and make new friends.
“Goldies IS special, it is a simple formula but it works. Everyone loves a singalong.”
Later this year it will introduce a book of Welsh folk songs performed by based singer-songwriter Nia Ann.
Another aspect of the charities work is a schools programme called Time after Time. It encourages schools to open their doors to older people in their local communities. Over 60 schools across Wales have already taken part.
Mike Oliver, is assistant head at Lewis School Pengam. He said
"Our intergenerational partnership with Goldies has been a fantastic success, mostly due to the enthusiasm and professionalism of the volunteers who make it all work. We have between 50-60 people in for our lunch time club and they all love the community aspect of communal “Goldies” singing. It has been great to see our pupils joining in with the songs with our older guests and even more amazing to see some of our more challenging pupils doing it.“
Goldies Cymru is part of the Golden-Oldies charity which was founded by Bath based music man Grenville Jones 8 years ago. Across Wales and England there are now over 130 sessions including those for Afro Caribbean and Chinese older people and a session at Barton Hill Bristol for South Asian older people singing Bollywood songs. There are over 40 session leaders.
New Areas for Goldies this year will include Cheshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire with new sessions being added in Essex and Staffordshire.
Renowned Male Voice Choir conductor Dr Alwyn Humphreys is also a member of the Wales Management Board and a friend of Goldies founder Grenville Jones.
“Both Grenville and I know how music and singing brings people together and at our Goldies sessions in Wales we have many very vulnerable people as well as those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“Grenville recognised that singing reaches out to everyone and I am delighted to be a supporter as we take the work of Goldies Cymru forward across Wales.”
www.goldiescymru.org.uk is the Welsh and English website which lists all the sessions and details of the schools Time after Time project.
Contacts for Goldies Cymru
Grenville Jones 0777 828 2934 Rachel Parry 0779714816